What Is Gua Sha? Everything You Need to Know About Gua Sha & It's Benefits
Human skin has many types. It can be oily, smooth, hard, soft, sensitive etc. Every human is determined to take care of their skins. Trying their best to protect it from damage and making it flawless. Even in the cosmetic industry skin and hair are the main targets. These industries know that the need or want of a human for fine skin is never gonna end. That's why quotes relating to skin are quite famous like "where skin glows energy flow" and somewhere it sounds true as well. A glowing skin fills a person with enthusiasm and confidence which is not the same in people who are having not so great skin. So, what is the mantra of people who have a glowing, flawless, spotless, wrinkleless and no fine lines skin? A difficult question to answer. Yet out of many answers one of the answers is GUA SHA. This article is all about GUA SHA and also has a herbal surprise at the end which can be helpful than any other product for taking care of your skin.
GUA SHA, which is a Chinese word and is pronounced as Gwah-shah, has a literal meaning; some understand Gua as scrape and sha as sand. On the other hand some people understand it as redness in the skin. Non Chinese can understand it as a way to scrape away diseases, fever and any type of illness inside the body. The healing system is copied from Asian Medicine. It was a traditional therapy which involved use of a spatula, which was made with buffalo horn in order to massage skin. It used to leave some marks on the skin which appeared purple or red and were known as Petechiae or Sha. Moving forward, let's get to know more about Gua Sha and its importance.
History of GUA SHA
GuaSha massage was popularly used by ancient Chinese people for quite a long time. This is now used as folk therapy. During the time of the Ming dynasty that is 1368 to 1644, this procedure was scientifically evaluated for maintaining medical records. Although, the time from which GUA SHA is practiced, is assumed to be much older and vast. In addition, its first maintained record was around 700 years ago, which was the era of the Ming dynasty.
About Spatula Used In GUA SHA
As mentioned before earlier the cow horn was used to make spatula used for GUA SHA but nowadays this is replaced by some other materials like jade or rose quartz. Jade is a mineral which is used for making jewelry or ornaments and quartz is a crystalline mineral composed of silica (silicon dioxide). The quartz are of two types alpha or low quartz and beta or high quartz. It is an igneous rock. The rose quartz gets its color due to the presence of traces of titanium, iron or manganese in them and is also called hyaline quartz. On the other hand, jades are tough, compact and typically green gemstones that take a high polish. Use of these two materials for making spatula used in GUA SHA is really helpful as it provides a gentle or easy massage and bruises or red rashes can be avoided.
GUA SHA Techniques
The techniques used in GUA SHA are an important part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) tool kit. Each technique serves a different or specific purpose. The GUA SHA techniques are helpful to release and restore the flow of Qi in the targeted areas and hence promotes overall health of a being. So, following is the basic technique of GUA SHA:
- Apply thick lubricant according to need over the skin. It can be in the form of oils or creams.
- The upper body should be calm and fine
- Hold Gua Sha scalp in your hand firmly at an angle of 30-45 degrees to the surface you are going to scrape.
- The scraping can be done in two manners. One is in a downward direction that is away from the head and another one is in a sideways manner which is away from the spine.
- Some starting strokes should be a mild scrape before you start applying a little more pressure.
- A constant pressure is to be maintained. Not too hard nor too soft.
- Long strokes are to be applied between 15cm-20cm or 6-7 inches.
- Be consistent in one direction and don’t switch directions again and again.
- Each stroke must be applied for about 10-30 times before moving forward to the preceding area.
- Scraped areas should be immediately covered with a towel to keep the area warm.
General Technique For GUA SHA Massage
This technique is applied on fine muscles. These fine muscles are of the head and face. The strokes must be tender and the tool should be fine so that it can get easily into the angles of the face and also follows the outlines of the skin area which is to be treated. The steps for the general Gua Sha massage are as follows:
- Stretch upward the skin of the forehead upward and scrape carefully to the hairline using smooth edges of the tool. Now, move towards the nose and facial structures. After this scratch in outward direction and upward towards the ears. At last scratch downwards on the sides of the face.
- Keep proceeding until you have covered all the painful areas and also the blocked areas which are to be treated. Person after this will feel immediate relief from pain, feel lighter and also experience an unplugged sensation.
- After the technique is done, provide the person with lukewarm water. The person must rest after the gua sha and is not allowed to take showers immediately after
- Direct contact with air is to be avoided and knees must be wrapped or covered to keep warm.
Benefits Of GUA SHA Technique
As we have gone through step by step procedure for GUA SHA, now it's the time to discuss its benefits. So, following are the benefits of GUA SHA:
- It helps in improving the lymphatic fluid drainage or movement.
- The technique helps in breaking down the tension or friction in muscles along with knots on the face, arms, shoulders and neck.
- When used on the face it has a cosmetic benefit, that it reduces fine lines. If used gently, it helps in lifting up the face, reduces puffiness of eyes and also results in sharper cheekbones.
- It also increases blood blow to the part which is scraped.
- Helps in giving the face a smoother touch and more enhanced features.
- The area which is scraped, slows recovers from hyperpigmentation (if present)
- It helps in pains which are usually due to the excessive Vata dosha in the body like arthritic pain, fibromyalgia pain etc.
- It also relieves impacts of conditions like migraine, pain in the neck, perimenopausal syndrome etc.
Along with benefits people can experience a few negative effects of GUA SHA technique. Effects like purple or red bruises, capillary burst (small vessels near skin surface ), bruises can be a little discomforting etc.
Who Must Not Go For GUA SHA?
If this question arises there is definitely a category of people who are not suitable for the procedure. They are as following:
- Who has a surgery in last 6 weeks
- A medical condition affecting skin or veins
- A person who has infection, tumor or wounds which are not completely healed
- A person who bleed easily
- Person with Deep vein thrombosis or DVT
- People with clotting disorders or take medication for blood thinning
GUA SHA With Kumkumadi Oil
The GUA SHA technique is very good and it is effective as well. If we talk in terms of cosmetic importance, GUA SHA gives good results with fine lines and wrinkles. In addition it gives good shape to the cheekbone and chin bone as well. The facial angle is improved and features are enhanced if one uses GUA SHA over the face. But obviously, as mentioned before GUA SHA cannot be done with application of a lubricant. So, now the question is what that lubricant should be when it comes to do GUA SHA technique over face?
Instead of Applying something random like a lotion or oil, which may or may not suit your face, let's opt for something natural, herbal and Ayurvedic.
Herbal Formulation For GUA SHA Technique By Planet Ayurveda
Planet Ayurveda is an Ayurvedic products manufacturing company which has been in the market for more than 20 years. The company has its goals for making Ayurveda global and globally accepted as well. For that company has set its resellers in various parts of not only India but also in many parts of Europe, has certification of FDA thus has resellers in the United states and United kingdom as well. For GUA SHA especially to be done for fine lines and wrinkles, for enhancing facial features is to be done with a peculiar lubricant which is being offered by Planet Ayurveda. The lubricant is Kum Kumadi Tailam
- Kum Kumadi Tailam – Clean face, pat dry and gently massage 10-15 drops of Kum Kumadi Tailam. Allow to remain on face for at least 10-15 minutes. For best results leave the application overnight and wash in the morning.
Special Instructions - Skin Sensitivity to oil application may be tested for suitability prior to application.
1. Kum Kumadi Tailam
The kum kumadi oil is a classical preparation being manufactured by Planet Ayurveda. The formulation has potent ingredients like Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia), Daruhaldi (Berberis aristata), Padmaka (Prunus puddum), Vat (Ficus benghalensis), Ushira (Vetiveria zizanioides), Rakta Chandan (Pterocarpus santalinus), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and many others. The product is very well known for its fantastic effects on skin and also helps in diminishing the hyper pigmentation over the skin. It acts as an antiseptic, disinfectant and antibacterial property. This is the unique blend of herbs that help in healing scars, infections. In addition it also bears the soothing properties as well. It is the best elixirs of Ayurveda for the perfect beauty. The oil can be applied at any age and can be used successfully for GUA SHA.
The GUA SHA technique has good results but it's better that it should be done by an expert. Even if someone wants to try it at home, like on the face then he or she must try the technique first and then start its application. The GUA SHA is the ancient Chinese technique that had results then and tends to give results even now, if done properly. In addition, it can be done at any age but is avoided in young children.