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Innermost Investigates Gua Sha: What Is It, And Is It Worth The Hype?

20th July 2021

20th July 2021

By Beth Shelper

Welcome back to another Innermost Investigates.

For us, self-care is a must. We’re always on the lookout for the latest at home self-care routines, techniques and products, so when we saw the hype around Gua Shas, we had to investigate. Having a skin care routine is a great way to incorporate a bit of self-care into your everyday life, and Gua Sha and Gua Sha facials are one of the hottest new trends in this area. But what is it?

The OG self-care, that’s what it is. It’s time to balance your chi (that means energy). 

What is a Gua Sha?

Gua Sha, also known as Kerokan (in Indonesia), has a hugely extensive history, and is a natural, alternative therapy that is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Gua means “scrape” and Sha means “petechiae” – referring to the tiny, red- or purple-coloured spots on skin created by the technique.

Dating back 475BC, Gua Sha techniques focus on a person’s back, bum, neck, arms and face, and include massages that invigorate the blood flow and stimulate immune responses to improve skin appearance.  

Why do people do Gua Sha?

The technique is commonly used to treat various ailments and illnesses, including dizziness, abdominal issues, tight muscles and nausea. It’s also used in the treatment of soft tissue injuries and chronic pain – the benefits of this ancient technique are pretty big.

Traditionally, Gua Sha tones were made of stone, but this later transitioned into precious stones such as Jade and Rose Quartz – both of which are renowned for their healing benefits. The technique has been implemented for centuries in Asia, but now everyone else is catching up.

How does Gua Sha work?

Historically, Gua Sha has been performed by a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioner, but following lockdowns across the globe, many have turned to the technique as a form of self-care.

It’s incredibly important to follow the instructions on your Gua Sha tool, but the technique is simple. The main aim is to scrape (Gua) your skin in both short and long strokes in an upward and outward direction only – and don’t press too hard. This can lead to light bruising and bleeding, and we definitely don’t want that.

Top tip: A lot of people place their tool in the fridge for a relaxing and refreshing cooling sensation. Ensure to use oils too, for a smooth experience.

How often should you Gua Sha?

Don’t overdo it here.

Generally, it’s advised to engage in Gua Sha techniques once a week. Our skin (and particularly our face) is delicate, so it’s important to ensure you are being careful to avoid any unwanted side effects.

Maybe you could make it part of your Sunday pamper routine? We know we will be.

Side note: It’s best to avoid the Gua Sha technique if you are currently taking any blood thinning medication, just due to the nature of the technique and it’s influence in blood flow and inflammation.

What are the Gua Sha benefits?

Gua Sha is noted to have positive effects on a range of symptoms as detailed above, but we’ve rounded up some of the most notable benefits below (with some surprising results!)

Gua Sha reduces symptoms of:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Migraines
  • Breast engorgement
  • Neck pain
  • Joint pain
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Inflammation

Does Gua Sha work?

So, does Gua Sha live up to the hype? The short answer? Yes.

There is a general consensus that Gua Sha techniques are effective – let’s be real, they wouldn’t still be around after all these thousands of years if they weren’t, right?

Research by the Menopause Journal have found that there is evidence to support the reduction of perimenopausal symptoms following Gua Sha techniques, with The Journal of Chinese Medicine confirming that Gua Sha facials result in improvements in skin texture and reduction of wrinkles.

Summary

To round up, Gua Sha seems like a pretty effective technique in the treatment of a range of issues that we all suffer with from day-to-day, with great benefits and research to back up these benefits – we love.

This simple technique is growing in popularity day-by-day, and it’s not hard to see why. The key to this technique is consistency, so make sure to implement it on a weekly basis and we’re sure you’ll be pleased with the results. Skincare is health care, people!

Happy Gua Sha-ing.

References

  • Domingues, A. L. B., Solinho, A. F. N., Sequeira, C. P. D. F. P., da Mota, D. F. R., da Mota, J. M. G., Campos, M. R. R., & Tavares, N. M. R. M. (2020). The Use of Gua Sha to Improve Facial Expression Lines and Wrinkles: A Case Study. The Journal of Chinese Medicine, (123), 38-42. Click here.
  • Meng, F., Duan, P. B., Zhu, J., Lou, Q. Q., Fang, Z. H., An, H. L., ... & Hu, Q. (2017). Effect of Gua sha therapy on perimenopausal syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Menopause, 24(3), 299-307. Click here.

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