Gua Sha Massage is a trendy skin care practice with a lot of devotees, so why not give it a try!? The proper technique behind a great Gua Sha massage is a bit tricky and takes some practice. There is even a rumor floating around that Gua Sha therapy is dangerous! While that is certainly not the case, it’s a good idea to know the basics about this Chinese detox method and how to use a Gua Sha Stone before you get started.
The word consists of two parts, namely ‘gua’, which means to scrape, and ‘sha’, which means sand or grains of sand. A Gua Sha treatment is then, metaphorically speaking, scraping away grains of sand. ‘Sha’ represents fixed or accumulated qi or chi, which means life energy. According to Chinese Medicine, freely moving qi is the basis of a healthy and happy life. Therefore the intention of a Gua Sha massage is to release stagnant energy, so that everything in your body can run smoothly again. You can read about the most important Gua Sha basics here: massage tools, how they work, and why jade Gua Sha stones are so popular!
Massage with Gua Sha stones tries to promote a better flow of blood and energy in your body. The desired result is the relief or prevention of discomforts and ailments. It’s also thought that a good Gua Sha massage can help you tackle all kinds of discomforts, and not just physically! Practitioners believe it helps on physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional levels. Frequently reported Gua Sha benefits include:
- Stimulated blood flow
- Released wastes
- Supported organs and the immune system
- Eased pain
- Balanced emotions
- Increased vitality
Doing a Gua Sha massage or Gua Sha self-treatment starts with oil. Distribute Chinese herbal massage oil on the skin where the complaint is felt. This could be on relevant muscles, organs, or energy channels (meridians). The tool will glide more easily over the oiled skin, making the massage more pleasant. During the treatment, a special scraper is used: the Gua Sha Stone. The masseur scrapes the stone in long strokes over the problematic spot. The skill will blush and redden as small bruises appear under the surface. Some might ask “if it causes bruising, then is Gua Sha dangerous?” Simply put, No. According to the traditional Gua Sha practice, this color is a result of the released waste products. Therefore, discoloration is a good sign in Gua Sha, meaning that blockages are clearing and soon your energy can flow freely again!
A Gua Sha therapist looks at the location and color of the ‘sha’ during a treatment. These are the marks that have arisen after scraping with the Gua Sha stone. According to Chinese medicine, trained masseuses can tell if it is a recent or chronic blockage. The darker the stain is, the more chronic the underlying complaint. The marks can therefore be red, blue, purple or even black. That is no reason to panic and according to therapists, it does not mean that a massage is dangerous. Normally you can expect the red spots to disappear within a few days. Your body processes and rids itself of them just like any other waste products. However, even though it is not dangerous, be aware that Gua Sha can be painful!
The purpose of the massage is to bring movement back into your energy system. A massage can therefore have different effects on different levels of your being. From person to person, the experience and effects are also very different! One feels physical relief or relaxation, yet in another turbulent emotions may arise. Some people enjoy a full body massage with pressure all over they body, and some prefer just a small scraping at a problem spot. A frequent experience however, is that through the improved energy flow, people notice a positive impact on chronic complaints. Are you getting curious enough to try Gua Sha yet? As always, it’s something that you just have to experience for yourself!
A Gua Sha Stone is a polished, ergonomically shaped, gemstone. There are different shapes such as jagged, round, hearts, clouds, and as a comb. Some shapes work well on the contours of the face and others are better for the limbs. For example, most people use a Rectangular Gua Sha scraper for long back muscles and a Heart-shaped Gua Sha stone for facial massage. With a Gua Sha facial treatment you put pressure on meridians in the face, with the same goal as with the body massage – the removal of waste. You will probably notice that your skin feels refreshed after the detox, and it really shows too!
Originally, because people often practice Gua Sha at home as a self-remedy for muscle pain and colds, scrapers were mainly made of simple materials. Wood, bamboo, horn, stone, or metal coins were most common. Nowadays, Gua Sha massage is often done with polished gemstones. The most popular variant is the Jade Gua Sha Stone, also called Bao Yü. Gem enthusiasts consider Jade a purifying and protective stone that promotes emotional balance. They also find that jade removes negativity and create a sense of openness. That fits perfectly with the purpose of a Gua Sha treatment, so it’s no wonder that Jade has become one of the most popular stones to scrape with!
Now that you’ve had our little Gua Sha tutorial, there are many other wellness and massage techniques available that you should check out! For example, Yoni Massage is another popular technique from Taoism and Chinese Medicine. Yoni massage is a treatment of the ‘yoni, a Sanskrit word that refers to the female genitals and energy. In this practice, a woman uses a tool called a ‘Yoni Egg’ to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. It is believed that a strong yoni practice can help dissolve emotional tensions and traumas around the pelvic area. This could be very beneficial to the health, sensitivity, vitality, and emotional well-being of us women. Like Gua Sha scrapers, Jade is also very popular for Yoni Eggs, but other crystals are also available. Maybe you’d prefer Rose Quarts for example! Check out which Gemstone suits you best, before you start!
Enough options to find an energy freeing massage that works for you!