The name gua sha — pronounced gwah-sah — is the Chinese word for scraping. And in its simplest form, this is what we want to do when practicing Gua Sha.
Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese practice that aims to move energy and remove blood stagnation. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that a person’s 'qi' or 'chi' (energy) must be flowing freely for them to enjoy overall health and wellbeing.
The technique can be used on the whole body and is traditionally quite vigorous, with the scraping done until skin is red. Today, Gua Sha is becoming quite popular in the west in a more gentler, at home version. The tool of choice for many is the beautiful Rose Quartz Gua Sha tool, but it is also available in Jade, and you may see metal used in a clinical environment.
GUA SHA FOR BODY
Gua sha is most often used to relieve muscle and joint pain. Conditions of the muscles and bones are known as musculoskeletal disorders. A 2014 study on people who used computers frequently and used Gua Sha with a control group that had no treatment finished with this statement:" It was concluded that the Gua Sha therapy could reduce pain, and improve cervical range of motion in people who have neck pain and shoulder pain associated with myofascial trigger points."
Furthermore, a 2017 study into weightlifters using Gua Sha suggested that Gua Sha could help speed up recovery from lifting and, interestingly, that some weightlifters felt they needed to invest less effort to lift after treatment.
To use your Gua Sha on the body at home, combine it with a body oil for lubrication. You want to use a smooth-edged instrument and apply short or long strokes on the skin, typically in the area of pain. The stroking will increase redness - this is fine, you want this, but as you are a novice, it is best not to start out too strong. In a clinic, it is not uncommon to get slight bruising, but these therapists are trained in the art of Gua Sha. In the Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain is frequently caused by the stagnation of blood in the local area of discomfort.
For a good intro video to Gua Sha with the body, watch this video https://youtu.be/8WSTy2AfEpo
There is no doubt that Eastern traditions have gained traction in recent years when it comes to natural beauty. We’re still massive fans of the Jade Roller and love how easy it is to use one, but if you are looking for a deeper treatment, you may want to consider adding Gua Sha to your routine. Often referred to as a natural alternative to botox, Gua Sha can offer profound benefits when used on the face as it gets the lymphatic fluid moving and encourages blood flow, helping purge the build-up of toxins.
Beginners Instructions to Gua Sha
We are only going to use light pressure for our faces as you’ll encourage blood flow and get good results with light strokes, without risking harm by going deeper. All Gua Sha strokes should be done in one direction, not back and forth - sweep, or glide but don’t rub. Your face is very sensitive and the way you stroke it is different to how you would tackle a thigh, for example.
- Apply your Signature Night Recovery Oil or any serum you want to help your skin absorb more of. This will also lubricate the skin, so you get gentle, sweeping strokes.
- All light sweeps will be in an upward motion; we want to fight gravity, not encourage it!
- Keep the gua sha tool at a 15-degree angle to the skin—almost flat but not quite. This covers more surface and gives a gentle pull on the skin, which is also necessary for the correct technique.
Here are some Gua Sha techniques you can try for the face:
- Under the chin: Glide from the middle of the soft under-chin out to the bottom of your earlobe three to five times
- The Chin: From the centre of the chin, just under where your lower lip is, sweep the smooth side of your Gua Sha out toward the earlobe three to five times.
- Your Cheeks: From the corner of the nose, sweep out toward the middle ear three to five times.
- Under-eye: Be sure to use only incredibly light and slow motions here as it is one of your most sensitive parts of the entire body. Using your smooth side, sweep the Gua Sha over the under-eye area, where "eye bags" would appear, all the way out to the temple and hairline. You can do this three to five times.
- Under eyebrow: If you've got one of our winged Gua Sha's, you'll love how it can run along the brow bone here. Avoid any pressure on the eye or eyelid itself and stay on the brow bone. Gently sweep the Gua Sha in one fluid motion towards the hairline. Repeat five times.