By guest writer Kristy W. Gilbraith, MBA, BSN, RN, BC-LMT
If you're not up to speed with Gua Sha, then let me be the first to introduce you. Gua Sha is the ancient Chinese practice from the Ming Dynasty. It was originally used to treat ailments ranging from joint and muscle pain to heatstroke by scraping the skin using stones or similar type hand tools, along with a cream, serum or oil.
Today, Gua Sha is experiencing a renaissance within the beauty industry, and I am here for it! As an avid beauty enthusiast, registered nurse, and massage therapist, I found this treatment intriguing when I first learned of it.
There are documented studies speaking to the benefits of Gua Sha published in well-respected journals, including the Journal of Chinese Medicine, which saw a positive impact on musculoskeletal pain, as well as overall pain. Another study noted Gua Sha had positive results on micro-circulation perfusion with no adverse effect (Nielsen, Knoblauch, Dobos, Michalsen, & Kaptchuk, 2007). There are even data speaking to Gua Sha's beneficial effects on menstrual cramps, migraines, and hot flashes! From a healing self-care perspective, Gua Sha is a no brainer.
However, I am equally impressed with how Gua Sha can amp up a beauty routine in the blink of an eye.
Now, if you're going to perform Gua Sha, I recommend using a Gua Sha kit, such as the one sold by Corbin R.D., which comes with a Bian stone and a nutrient-dense plant-based oil.
No, the Bian stone is not some magical sorcery, albeit its history certainly has the makings of something out of a J.K. Rowling book. The 65 million-year-old rock formed from a meteorite, and is comprised of trace minerals, antioxidants and has ultra-sound and far-infrared properties. Thus, making it the cornerstone of Gua Sha beauty in the palm of your hands, literally.
Gua Sha’s beauty benefits are tremendous, and I share several below.
1. Cellulite Management
Starlets and celebrities know deep massage is one way to minimize the appearance of cellulite. With the help of a Bian stone and oil, Gua Sha can effectively re-organize adipocytes (fat cells), resulting in a smoother appearance of cellulite-prone areas.
2. Anti-Aging Treatment:
Upward sweeping motions via a Bian stone and nutrientrich oil not only improve micro-circulation and stimulate the skin but also support vital nutrient and oxygen absorption, supporting skin in looking younger longer.
3. Relieves Facial and Body Stress:
Did you know we hold stress in our face? If we didn't, Botox wouldn't be a billion-dollar therapy! Gua Sha is proven to relax muscles, including those found in the lower jaw, forehead, and brows. Say goodbye to those pesky lines between your eyebrows, also known as "Angry 11s."
4. Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Benefit:
Because of the vasodilation associated with Gua Sha therapy, natural chemicals are released within the body creating proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which aid in the management of chronic conditions that impact both the skin and immune system (Kwong KK, Kloetzer L, Wong KK et al., 2009).
5. Scar Tissue Management:
Gua Sha is perfect for completely healed but less than 6-month-old scars, including C-sections, etc. The massage motion of Gua Sha supports breaking down fibers of scar tissue over time, thereby minimising the ropy appearance typically observed with scar tissue.
Gua Sha is a definite beauty routine must for anyone wanting to ward off wrinkles and improve texture, circulation, and oxygenation of the skin. It's also a winner when it comes to self-care related to stress and pain. The best part of all is it can be performed at home. Whether it is implemented three times a week as part of a night time facial routine or every day for scar tissue management, one thing is for sure there's no excuse to be without it, now that you know it exists. Cheers!
References: Kwong KK, Kloetzer L, Wong KK et al. Bioluminescence imaging of heme oxygenase-1 upregulation in the Gua Sha procedure. J Vis Exp. 2009. Lee, M. S., Choi, T., Kim, J., & Choi, S. (2010). Using Guasha to treat musculoskeletal pain: A systematic review of controlled clinical trials. Chinese Medicine, 5(1), 5. doi:10.1186/1749-8546-5-5 Nielsen, A., Knoblauch, N. T., Dobos, G. J., Michalsen, A., & Kaptchuk, T. J. (2007). The Effect of Gua Sha Treatment on the Microcirculation of Surface Tissue: A Pilot Study in Healthy Subjects. Explore, 3(5), 456-466. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2007.06.001