Has it ever been pondered how the world is going back to the techniques of our ancestors? That is because those practices and ideologies were healthy for the body and mind, including the Gua Sha massage, the oldest known healing technique. The origin lies within Chinese medicine and has its roots in the Ming Dynasty. If you are someone looking for non-invasive healing techniques, Gua Sha is what you need to try. It is guaranteed to provide results.
To begin with, Gua Sha involves scraping and rubbing the skin along with the connective tissue with a smooth and blunt instrument.
It is one of the ancient techniques used in healing medicines. It is one of the practices of Chinese traditional medicine. Lately, this practice has been gaining much popularity and has become a special demand in spas and massage centers. This technique is known to release stress, relax the body, remove toxins, and promote the overall well-being of the body and mind.
Origin of Gua Sha
You might have seen beautiful jade instruments being sold on the internet and in beauty shops. These smooth and oddly shaped instruments are called Gua sha. They are important in Gua sha massage for maintaining a balanced Chi. This practice dates back to the Ming Dynasty, but in actuality, it was a practice founded in the Han Dynasty thousands of years ago, where physicians used energy lines or meridians to maintain well-being and health.
The physicians at that time explained the physiology of toxins to move inside the skin into the body as skin is the outer cover of muscles and other compartments. Inward movement is normal, but the outward movement of toxins is abnormal, and therefore, a gua sha massage is used to force the toxins out through the kidney or the liver.
The healing technique of Gua sha involves scrapping and spooning of skin and connective tissue, which is what Gua sha is known for. To provide a good Gua sha massage, the therapist must be acquainted with the Qi, chi, or meridian lines to activate the points of connective tissue. In the Han Dynasty, it was initially used to maintain the balance of Qi and the energy flow.
Chinese medicinal practices are praised in the highest words, and Guasha, being an integral part of Chinese Medicine, is raised as well. It is important not just because of its history but also because it has significance in cultural values. Families pass down their Gua sha to the younger members as a symbol of honor.
Tools and Techniques of Gua Sha
The Gua Sha massage uses specialised techniques and instruments. These tools were traditionally made of jade or horn. The coolness of jade was assumed to be an important part of the technique. A smooth edge of the Gua sha is scraped on the skin and the connective tissue beneath it. The Gua sha massage involves subbing the skin with pressure in one direction strokes until the skin becomes red and shows purple spots; these spots are known as sha.
This indicates that the blood flow has been restored to a normal and healthy balance. The therapy is repeated for 3-5 days for complete well-being. The spots disappear in 2-4 days. Over time, therapists and generations of practitioners have evolved and added new tools for Gua sha, such as rose quartz or stainless steel, that work just as fine and are also cost-effective. The sha is the indication of the stagnant energy being released for the main purpose of this massage. When the stagnant energy is released, it immediately provides comfort, relaxation, and balance to the Chi.
Similar to other Chinese medicines, Gua sha also operates on the principles of Qi and energy flow. The main aim of this massage is to promote the smooth flow of energy. The massage offers restoration of normal blood flow and enhances lymphatic drainage that releases stagnant and stored energy, which then restores the normal Qi of the body.
From a physiological aspect, gua sha massage offers microcirculation that increases the blood flow and infuses oxygen as well. This also moves the toxins stored in different places to move towards the lymphatics and leave the body either through the kidneys or the liver. This mechanism of action leads to the reduction of inflammation, pain relief, activation of immune cells, and even repair of cells.
Benefits of Gua Sha Massage
Ancient Chinese medicine holds many benefits that are now being praised. No matter how modern the world becomes, it will always fall back on ancient practices and remedies. These techniques may take a while to bring an effect, but they treat the disease rather than the symptoms. Here are just a few of the hundreds of benefits of Gua sha massage.
When a person looks for every remedy on earth for their disease, it means they are in immense pain. The primary benefit of Gua sha is that it alleviates pain, both acute and chronic. It is a known fact that when there is pain in any body segment, the muscles and joints stiffen up, which can lead to more pain.
This is usually due to the substance P released as a response to pain stimulus. Gua sha strokes on the affected area remove the substance P, move it to the lymphatic system, and remove it from the body through the kidneys and liver. The pain relief is the most prominent feature of the gua sha massage. The muscles also loosen up, and the joints are also mobile, which helps in maintaining the well-being of the body. It helps in releasing endorphins and provides an analgesic effect overall.
Improved Blood Circulation
The scrapping and spooning motion of the gua sha helps to dilate the blood vessels and increase blood flow to the affected area. When the motion of the massage and the smooth edge of the instrument move the toxins toward the lymphatic system, it increases the blood flow to the area of the depleted toxins.
This motion for improving blood flow also helps oxygenate the blood, help the blood capillaries replenish with blood, and supply the skin and connective tissue as they are mostly deprived of blood and nutrients. As the blood flow improves, it automatically improves the overall circulation and helps replenish the affected area with nutrients and release stagnant energy. The dilation of blood vessels also acts as a chemo activator for healthy chemicals and maintains good blood circulation.
Gua sha can be used to maintain well-being without any disease as well. It can be included in the daily routine as a health routine. The massage focuses on different spots that are stiff and heavy. Replenishment of blood circulation helps remove toxins and other impurities from the body.
The detoxification is not from the skin. Rather, it moves the toxins and impurities toward the lymphatic drainage system and then removes them from the body through the kidney or the liver. This helps maintain the Qi and also balances the normal energy flow. The indication for detoxification is the purple spots after redness. This redness is known as the sha and takes 2-4 days to disappear. This is the best detoxification of the body and can be very easily achieved by a jade instrument or a horn.
Facial Gua Sha: Skincare Benefits
One of the most important benefits of Gua sha for females is that it is beauty care; the facial routine with a gua sha is highly effective and takes hardly 5 minutes. The jade or the rose quarts are cooled in the fridge or sprinkled with cold water.
Properly massaging with a Gua sha on the jaw towards the jugular and on the forehead also helps in the reduction of puffiness, reduces inflammation and redness, improves blood circulation, and reduces the visible acne and other pimples as the toxins are moved to the lymphatic system.
The proper face massage helps reduce the visible pores and gives a glass glow to the skin. It is one of the best facial massages incorporated in spas and massage parlours now. It helps to properly sculpt and tone the face.
How to Perform Gua Sha Massage
Techniques for every massage differ somewhat due to the intensity and aim of it. Similarly, Gua sha helps to activate blood circulation and remove toxins. For this purpose, the techniques require the gua sha instrument, hand precision, and the preparation of the skin.
Preparing the Skin
No massage is just started out of nowhere. The massage needs a preparation for the surface for its complete and proper effect. Before the Gua sha session, the skin is cleaned of any makeup, oil, dirt, or chemicals that could limit the touch of the gua sha instruments. The skin is cleaned with water or soap, whichever seems feasible. Once the skin is properly cleaned and then dried with a washcloth, it is then properly oiled either with a mineral oil or any herbal extract.
This helps limit the friction during scraping and spooning, which also reduces the chance of scratching. The skin should be clean and properly oiled before the session begins. There are no limits to what oils can be used, but it is better to stick with natural oils such as jojoba oil, shea butter, olive oil, etc. The instrument should glide over without any hesitance.
Selecting the Right Oil
One of the most important factors in Gua sha massage is the choice of oil. It makes a huge difference in the effect and the experience. Some oils are very thin and are very quickly absorbed by the skin vehicle. They may help moisten the skin, but they do not provide enough oil for the gua sha. The choice is up to the person performing and the person receiving. It is better to use lavender oil because of its aroma or eucalyptus oil for its relaxing effect. But shea butter and jojoba oils are also a good choice. You are even allowed to experiment with different oils and tag the ones you think are the best for Gua sha.
Gua sha massage is one of the best-known ancient healing techniques of Chinese medicine. It uses the same theory of meridians and Chi. The restoration of energy flow promotes health and beauty. Gua sha helps reduce stagnant energy reserves and helps the flow of proper energy through the energy lines.