Offering acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and bodywork, the Yinova Center is an integrative wellness center acclaimed for its expertise in fertility. One modality that they use frequently in their treatments is called Gua Sha. This is an ancient technique that can be used to treat a range of things from musculoskeletal pain and inflammation to beautifying techniques like de-puffing and lifting the skin.
They use a smooth, hand-held tool to press and stroke on skin lubricated with oil, almost like a “scraping” technique. These tools are commonly flat stones or a roller, usually made from jade or other semi-precious stones like rose quartz. Jade is considered a Yin stone for its cooling nature to alleviate inflammation. You can also use a rounded ceramic soup spoon or a metal baby jar cap with a thick lip.
How & Why
Gua means “to rub” and sha refers to the reddened marks indicating where blood stagnation or heat is trapped in the body. The quality, color, and location of the sha are part of how they diagnosis someone’s Chinese pattern. Gua sha is done in one direction and in even strokes to create the sha that is raised from repeated scraping. These marks represent superficial broken capillaries, which promote an anti-inflammatory and immune response to improve circulation. Here is a video from Yinova’s IGTV which shows gua sha being performed by a Yinova Team member
*Before performing gua sha on yourself, they recommend meeting with one of their practitioners to receive guidance and see if this technique will be beneficial for you.
Helpful tips for using gua sha for particular conditions
For musculoskeletal pain
For respiratory illnesses
Gua sha the upper and outer chest over the pec muscles, located just below the outer end of the collarbones and in front of the shoulders. (This is exemplified in the aforementioned IGTV video.)
Facial Gua Sha
Facial gua sha has become a popular beautifying technique to naturally stimulate blood circulation and lymphatic drainage for tired or congested skin. It can be used for lifting and sculpting, relaxing tight muscles that contribute to fine lines (like brows furrows), and de-puffing under-eyes and cheeks. It’s also helpful for jaw tension, seasonal allergies, and sinus congestion. When performing facial gua sha, make sure you use much less pressure on the face - no sha should arise. The most popular gua sha tools for the face are jade roller or rose quartz stone. Here is some general advice for facial gua sha:
For under eyes
For sinus relief
Self-Care After Gua Sha
Although the marks may look intense, they will fade after a few days. Gua sha is not painful and patients quickly feel relief with decreased tension and increased mobility. Until then:
This article was originally posted on the Yinova Center’s Blog. You can learn more about Yinova and their approach to healing by heading to their website.