Where does the word “self-care” drive your thoughts to? An effective shower routine for healthy skincare? Regular meditation every morning? Sparing time for a hobby you enjoy? There’s clearly no boundary or limit to the practices prioritizing your well-being. And while you might have tried all the basic ideas to reward yourself with some long-deserved “me-time,” there’s always something more luxe and soothing about attending to each part of your body with a rejuvenating massage – as done in the Chinese practice of body gua sha.
What is Body Gua Sha?
Gua sha is a technique of traditional East Asian medicine that involves scraping the skin with a massage tool to improve blood circulation. This ancient healing practice focuses on addressing stagnant energy, called chi, present in the body that is believed to be a cause of inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying reason for multiple conditions connected to chronic pain.
A technician uses gua sha tools for body to massage the skin in short or long strokes. This promotes microcirculation of the soft tissues and improves blood flow. The process is believed to break chi energy to relieve pain and tension and promote healing. The pressure of this action might also leave slight bruising, known as petechiae.
Gua sha is commonly done on the back, neck, arms, legs, and buttocks. A gentle version is also used to rejuvenate the facial skin. Your technician will begin with slight pressure and increase it gradually to determine the level of force you can manage.
Ways to Use the Body Gua Sha
Gua sha is a versatile practice that can be used in various ways to extract different benefits.
Gua Sha for the Neck
The technique can be used to relieve neck and shoulder pain after sitting or working in a particular posture for too long, like when using a computer.
Begin with applying oil and massaging it into the skin with your fingers. Start on the base of the neck behind the ear with the gua sha tool and move down to the shoulder. Repeat it 5 to 8 times and shift to the other side.
Gua Sha for Thighs
Gua sha for thighs helps reduce cellulite. Apply oil and rub it into the skin with your fingers. Hold the gua sha tool for body at an angle and start stroking from the bottom of your outer thigh up to your hips. In long strokes and light pressure, move the tool 3 to 5 times in one area. Continue repeating till the entire thigh has been covered, and repeat on the other thigh.
Gua Sha for Arms
Gua sha body massage on the arms assists with upper body lymphatic drainage. Apply oil and use your fingers to massage it into the skin. Cover the forearm with 3 to 5 long sweeping strokes from the wrist to your elbow. Continue stroking until you’ve covered all sides of the lower arm. Move to the upper arm and repeat the process from the elbow to the shoulder. Do the same technique on the other arm.
Benefits of Gua Sha
Body gua sha is a popular technique that works wonders for the well-being of your physical and mental condition — let’s discover all the reasons that make it a worthwhile practice.
Does Gua Sha Help with Cellulite?
Yes, one of the main benefits of gua sha is the reduction of cellulite from the body.
Cellulite is the build-up of fats under the surface of the skin. This is a completely natural and normal feature of our bodies, but for people who wish to minimize its puckering appearance, gua sha body massage is a great solution. The gua sha tools for body work to break up tension and enhance blood circulation. This allows elastic and collagen to find a place and tighten the muscles, which then reduces cellulite.
What Are The Benefits of Full Body Gua Sha?
Full body gua sha brings super rewarding results that make the technique perfect for people looking to extract the benefits discussed below.
- Lymphatic drainage. Body gua sha boosts lymphatic drainage by improving the blood flow in your legs, shoulders, and arms. This helps with debloating, glowing skin, and easing tension in the body.
- Immunity boost. Practicing gua sha regularly and correctly drains the lymphatic system to detoxify the entire body and fight against colds and flu.
- Improvement in perimenopausal symptoms. From hot flashes to mood swings and chronic pain, gua sha done on acupoints like the upper arms, legs, and back can reduce the drastic perimenopausal symptoms.
- Fights acne scars. Gua sha brings fresh blood to the skin and renews the cells, thus reducing acne scars and promoting smooth skin.
- Relieve muscle pain and tension. Tension residing in the myofascial tissue arises in the form of upper back tension and headaches. Gua sha massage on these points can relieve this tension.
- Reduces symptoms of Tourette syndrome. Gua sha, paired with other therapies, can reduce the symptoms of Tourette syndrome, including facial tics and vocal outbursts.
What will happen if I use gua sha every day?
As a powerful and natural technique, gua sha is safe and, in fact, great to be used every day. With every massage, your body experiences incredible changes. Be it the softening of fine lines, an improvement in the skin complexion, or a reduction in under eyes, gua sha will bring beautiful results when used on the face. Similarly, body gua sha reduces pain and eases stress, along with boosting the immune system and minimizing cellulite appearance.
While using gua sha body massage two to three times a week can give you the desired results, practicing the technique every day will guarantee faster results.
Is it OK to use gua sha without oil?
Gua sha includes pressurized stroking, strong enough to leave slight bruises. Applying a lubricator is essential to make the process smooth.
You can replace the oil with a moisturizer or serum, but it is important to use something. Otherwise, the gua sha tool for body will pull and tug on the skin, making the process uncomfortable. “You can do gua sha on the face, body and scalp, and it’s best to use with water or with an oil, but never on bare skin,” says Katie Brindle, a Chinese medicine therapist.
Apart from using oil, there are a few other tips you can follow for a successful at-home process — and amazing results!
- Start with clean skin by cleansing the skin with a gentle product. You may also use a toner afterward.
- Use slow motions with a gentle massage (instead of a rough and hurried contour session).
- Choose a good gua sha tool made of materials like copper or pure rose quartz. Also, look for a tool that has a versatile shape— including a curvature that fits in different parts.
- Drink plenty of water before and after; this helps optimize lymphatic flow.
Body gua sha is a super simple technique; you can either master it with just a little know-how— or visit a technician. Either way, the results will leave you in awe!Also— If you’re suffering from some medical condition, contact your doctor before trying the popular gua sha body massage. Note that the process may leave a little discoloration (and tenderness), so we recommend doing it when you don’t have an event to attend right after.