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Your Questions Answered Here

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha has been used in eastern cultures for centuries. It historically was done using a carved stone, large coin or spoon, scraping the skin and looking for "sha", a redness of the skin. This indicates stagnant energy or pain centers trapped in muscles or joints that is being released. Today Gua Sha is practiced primarily by Licensed Acupuncturists as part of a whole body treatment as one of a full range of modalities, or as a self-care ritual.

How Does Gua Sha Work?

Gua Sha increases micro-circulation, a very intentional and specific movement of energy, in the area used, relieving pain and moving it up and out through the skin. It also creates a heightened level of circulation in the arm, legs, torso, neck and head which increases blood flow and creates a higher level of physical and mental functioning. Generally, a small tool, no bigger than the palm of your hand is used in a upward or outward motion over an area of discomfort until the individual feels relief and increased mobility, and mental energy.

How Often Should I Do It?

Gua Sha can be practiced daily, several times a day as needed. For those experiencing stiffness upon waking, doing Gua Sha first thing in the morning can be beneficial. It's beneficial to do Gua Sha before and after exercising, and can even be done at work or while traveling.

Is Gua Sha Safe? Are there any precautions?

Gua Sha is safe to use on most individuals used as advised here. It is intended to be a regular gentle process. It is not recommended for use on skin that is inflammed or has a dermatalogical condition. Avoid areas with active acne and moles. If you have one mole in an area, you can simply put your finger on the mole and go around it. It is safe to use over spider veins and varicose veins. Over varicose veins, use gentle, repetitive strokes, pushing away from the heart. Do not use over cuts or abrasions. Do not share your Gua Sha Tool with someone who has a communicable disease. The skin on the face and front of neck is thin, so light pressure is advised to avoid bruising. If you are pregnant it's advised that you always do upward strokes (which is my general recommendation in most areas when doing Gua Sha) and avoid strong pressure on the top of the shoulders and low back. If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact me. If you are taking blood thinners, avoid areas where you normally bruise easily and use lighter pressure. If you have a bleeding disorder or are hesitant for any reason, it is advised that you contact myself or your medical doctor.

How Do I Use The Tool?

Your Gua Sha Tool can be used in pressured long strokes over large areas such arms and legs at an angle or perpendicular to the skin. The angle depends on how much pressure you want to place on an area and your comfort with the tool. I recommend using the tool in an upward motion (towards the heart) where possible, or an outward motion. The goal is to increase circulation of blood and energy back to the heart and brain. I recommend using fractionated coconut oil or other light oil such as jojoba oil when first using your tool. You may also use your tool over light clothing. At and around joints, fingers or other boney structures, I recommend short and intentional strokes. You should take specific caution around the spine. Do not use directly over the spine. The goal of using a Gua Sha tool on a daily basis is to move energy and release tension and pain. You do not want to create bruising. There can be some redness invoked in areas where there is a lot of bound energy or pain, but you should avoid creating permanent marks. The protocol I created follows the tenants of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, which is a gentle yet powerful process that circulates energy and blood, and restores communication between the systems of the body. The number of strokes used depends on the area you're working on and the amount of discomfort or deficiency of energy or mobility you are experiencing. You can start with 8-10 strokes and repeat as needed. You will come to know what your body needs as you get comfortable and adept at using your tool.

What Kind of Gua Sha Tool is Best?

There are a wide variety of Gua Tools available. Over the years that I have practiced Chinese Medicine I have tried many types of tools. My goal in teaching this modality is to invoke similar healing to that of Acupuncture. I have found that the tools I use with the training I provide are very effective in mimicing channel work, and are easy to use. Each edge of a Gua Sha tool provides different functions. Depending on the tool, one edge may be more rounded and will cause less friction and stimulation. Another edge may be useful for stationary pressure or for stimulating an area more strongly. The Comb tool is overall more stimulating, causing friction and the ends can be used for Acupressure. The Heart tool is softer in its application, but is useful around joints and the ends can also apply direct pressure. The Fish tool has wavy and pointed edges and is long, so can be a nice middle ground tool. The wavy edge similar to the Winged tool, and pointed edges that are good for applied pressure and friction. I like to switch between tools depending on the area of the body I'm working on and how I feel that day. The multi-function Winged tool is optimal for Facial work and can be used on the rest of the body because of its varied edges, which can be used for Acupressure, cross-hatching tissue and placing friction over large areas. All of these tools can be found in our store. The Winged tool comes with the Facial Rejuvenation Video and the Heart tool is available with the Intro to Gua Sha Video.

How Do I Care For My Tool?

Your Gua Sha tool can be washed with soap and water or cleaned with alcohol. If you are using a Facial tool you should clean your tool and face before use. If you use your tool on a friend or family member, wash before using on someone else and yourself. Gua Sha tools will break if dropped on tile or similar hard surface, so be careful where you use your tool and place it in a safe place. You can place your tools in a jewelry pouch or a pocket in your purse if you'd like to bring it to work or when traveling.

Is Gua Sha Safe to Use Over Fillers and Injected Tissue?

Gua Sha is not recommended over tissues that contain fillers. Muscles that have had injections of Botox or other substances can be treated with a Gua Sha tool 2-3 weeks after injections have been administered. It is always recommended that you check with your physician when using facial rejuvenation therapy after a medical procedure on the face has been done.