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The History & Purpose Behind Gua Sha

By Shelby Burdick LMT

Across your social media platforms, you may have seen the “new” beauty trend where people are dragging stones across their face promising a natural facelift and eternal beauty. The actual name for this practice is called Gua Sha (pronounced Gwah-Shah). This technique has actually been in practice for thousands of years with the earliest medical recordings dating back to the Chinese Ming Dynasty between the 1300s and 1600s. The Empress of the Chinese Ming Dynasty used to utilize a jade stone on her face to help keep her looking young. Other women were fascinated by the visual vitality and it quickly became adopted as a highly practiced beauty care regimen.

Gua Sha quite literally translates to “scraping” (Gua) and “sand” or “illness” (Sha). The thought behind the practice, is that by scraping a stone across parts of your body, you will help promote increased blood and lymphatic flow. The concept is that stagnation of the blood can lead to pathogenic heat that can be linked with disease, when you move the blood or lymph fluid, you are essentially allowing disease and inflammation to flow through the body until it has been filtered and then expelled via the lymphatic system. Lymphatic fluid is vital to

our bodies to help rid it of toxins and clear disease. Other uses of Gua Sha include utilizing the stone as a tool to help release tension in tight muscles. This can be extremely beneficial for someone who might suffer from TMJ, a condition that most commonly comes from pain arising from extreme tightness in the masseter muscle as well as some of the smaller chewing muscles.

There are an array of benefits with practicing Gua Sha, some of them include:

  • Skin renewal

  • Reduced inflammation and puffiness

  • Smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles

  • Enhances the penetration of skincare formulas (Hence GREAT to get along with your facial routine)

  • Helps to flush out toxins and excess fluids

  • Relieves side effects of conditions such as migraine headaches, neck pain and TMJ

  • Natural sculpting and contouring (known as the natural facelift)

It is safe for almost anyone to receive Gua Sha. As always, is important to go over the goals and any questions you may have in a session with a practitioner. Here at 640, we offer a standalone Gua Sha service that includes a relaxing neck and head massage as well as a Gua Sha add on to any massage service.

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