How This Ancient Massage Ritual
Benefits Body and Mind
The traditional practice of gua sha - a relaxing yet stimulating massage for the body that increases blood circulation and lymphatic flow - can offer a range of benefits to both our internal systems and the appearance of our skin.
Using a special tool designed to stimulate natural acupressure points, gua sha helps the body to detoxify, eases muscle pain and tension, and leaves skin firmer, smoother and glowing with healthy radiance.
However, there’s more to this ancient practice than solely improving bodily health. Discover how incorporating full-body gua sha into your daily routine can form a calming mindfulness ritual that soothes the mind while enhancing physical health and appearance.
What is Gua Sha
Gua sha is a traditional massage technique used in Chinese medicine. Designed to promote blood circulation in the body, gua sha involves sweeping a specialised tool over the skin in order to increase lymphatic flow and stimulate detoxification.
While there are many different types of gua sha tools available, a brass gua sha tool is particularly effective due to the cooling qualities of brass, which is believed to soothe the body’s internal heat (known as Pitta energy, according to ayurvedic wisdom).
The benefits of full-body Gua Sha
According to traditional Chinese medicine, optimal health and wellbeing are derived from the ability of energy to flow freely through the body. When this energy - known as chi or qi - is blocked, it can cause all manner of unwanted symptoms.
Gua sha aims to overcome energy blockages in order to relieve the body of these symptoms, leading to an improvement in overall health and wellness.
At an internal level, gua sha stimulates the body’s natural detoxification processes by increasing lymphatic flow and blood circulation, while helping to ease muscle pain, tension and inflammation.
On the outside, meanwhile, a regular gua sha routine can dramatically improve skin quality and appearance. The stimulating nature of gua sha enhances skin firmness and smoothness for beautifully soft, supple skin, while also sculpting and toning the body.
In addittion, gua sha can reduce bloating and puffiness, and minimise the appearance of cellulite and dimpled skin.
How to practice gua sha
Firstly, a gua sha tool shouldn’t be used on dry skin, so it’s best to incorporate this practice into your daily shower or after applying moisturiser or body oil. This will enable the tool to glide over your skin smoothly and without resistance.
Begin by holding the handle of your gua sha tool firmly. Starting at the feet, place the curved side of the tool on the skin and sweep upwards in long, firm strokes. The idea is to continuously glide the gua sha tool towards your heart.
As you move upwards through your body, focus on areas that tend to store fat and cellulite, such as the hips, thighs and abdomen. Apply firm pressure as you sweep your gua sha tool over these areas, stimulating the flow of blood in order to kick-start the body’s detoxifying mechanisms.
When you reach your chest and arms, you should begin to sweep downwards rather than upwards, in order to maintain your strokes in the direction of your heart.
For optimal results, repeat your full-body gua sha process five times.