Gua sha, pronounced gwah-shah, is an all-natural type of therapy utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM works through a holistic approach to medicine by understanding that all processes of the human body are connected to each other. TCM works to treat the underlying root of health issues instead of only focusing its efforts on the symptoms.
The great news is that it isn’t just for sick people either -- TCM also helps to improve your body’s internal defenses and aims to support holistic health as the primary factor in immune defense. Because of its fundamental differences with Western medicine, the two schools of thought can actually work together in tandem to give you a complete treatment for whatever ails you.
Specifically, gua sha is a process where gentle massage on the skin and muscles is used to improve your circulation. If you’re intrigued and want to know more about this fascinating technique, let’s deep dive together into its process and the benefits it can provide to your skin and body.
How Does It Work?
Gua sha is a process where the gua sha tool combines long and short strokes against your skin to improve your circulation and increase blood flow.
Initially, massage oil or even facial serum can be applied to the skin to moisturize you and relieve any feelings of restlessness or tension. Then, you can use the gua sha tool to repeatedly massage over your skin in a downward motion. By rubbing the skin, gua sha helps soothe away redness and irritation to support your body’s natural healing process.
Gua sha can also be done on the legs, arms, neck, back, and buttocks, and a slightly gentler version of the technique can be performed on the face. Your facial skin is much more sensitive than that of your torso and extremities, so we recommend beginning with slight pressure and slowly increasing the pressure from a light rub to a deeper massage. This procedure is not meant to be aggressive or cause discomfort, so be sure to go easy on your skin, especially on your face.
Keep in mind that while gua sha is a natural healing remedy, and therefore a generally safe procedure, it may cause some temporary discoloration in the skin. Vigorously rubbing your skin can lead to bruising in people with extremely sensitive skin, but those bruises are often small and fade within a few days.
How Does Gua Sha Help?
As an ancient healing method, there are countless anecdotes about how gua sha has helped to relieve pain and improve overall bodily health. While the process and environment may have changed over the years, people were onto something good thousands of years ago.
Gua sha has been used for multiple types of conditions, as well as for preventative reasons. Most often, people seek out gua sha to support bone health and to improve joint and cartilage function.
One study suggests that gua sha may also be effective in supporting and improving the structure and functions of the liver. When applied, in a softer manner to the face, gua sha has also been seen to reduce head and neck tension, both for people with issues in those areas and without.
The great thing about traditional Chinese medicine is that it focuses on prevention as well as treatment, so even if nothing is overtly wrong and you’re just a bit stressed or feel like you deserve to treat yourself to something nice, sessions of gua sha at home or acupuncture in a studio are always great options that are available to you at any time. Just waking up on the wrong side of the bed can lead to sore muscles, and staying hunched over a computer all day can make everything tense. Gua sha helps to relieve that tension and get you back to your daily routine feeling refreshed and renewed.
It also helps to improve feelings of energy and alertness, so you can keep up with running after your kids or the new pets you’ve adopted during quarantine. It may also help some people improve their quality of sleep to give you that extra bit of energy you need to finally complete that home project that’s been looming over your head for months.
It’s important to remember that, while techniques like gua sha may sound simple on the surface, they are backed by thousands of years of tradition and practice, and it may take some practice of your own to really master the technique and see the benefits.
We know that sometimes you just need a break to help you stay calm and focus on what matters most in your life. We all do! So, whether you need some help managing ongoing issues, occasional pain or tension, or just need a pick me up from the stress-inducing year we’ve all been having, gua sha and other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments might be just the thing you need to refocus and get back on track for success, health, and happiness.
Ready to try gua sha for yourself at home? Look no further than our Gua Sha Kit for the face. It comes with an instruction booklet to guide you through this skin-detoxing, circulation-promoting, collagen-boosting process, and our rose quartz gua sha tool will keep cool to your skin to help support those awesome soothing benefits even further!