Beyond Beauty: Five wellness benefits of Gua Sha

It seems that Gua Sha (Guasa) is basking in long overdue spotlight as of late. It is a technique that involves tools blunt tools — commonly mineral stones, though spoons and round objects are also typical — to massage and relieve tension, ultimately boosting the blood circulation throughout the body, and often boasting the benefits of resulting in more youthful skin.

But did you know that the benefits of Gua Sha goes beyond skincare? A form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is used to relieve pain and stress in the body — offering a pill-free alternative for those who prefer a more natural to pain relief. If you’re looking to remedy certain phyiscal discomforts, here are five wellness benefits to Gua Sha…

1. Detoxify the body and gives a natural face lift
Unlike the typical massage, Gua Sha uses a tool — typically smooth edged — to stroke the skin repeatedly. This technique helps to stimulate the lymphatic system and promote blood circulation (as well as energy flow) throughout the body, clearing any blockages within. This technique can be used anywhere on the face, neck or body to draw out toxins and increasing skin radiance and reduce puffiness.

2. Relieve migraine, headaches and sore muscles
Stress tend to create heat inside the body that then travels into vital organs. As heat gets trapped, tension is created resulting in stress symptoms such as migraines, headaches and sore muscles. Gua Sha helps to release the heat in these tension areas, stimulating the circulation of blood throughout various areas of the body — relieving inflammation, swelling and pain.

3. Soothe Prementural syndrome
Symptoms of Premenstural syndrom (PMS) commonly come in the form of fatigue, soreness and abdominal cramps caused by an excess of serotonin and prostaglandins hormones that trigger mood fluctuations and uterine contractions — resulting in pain, soreness, fatigue and swelling. Gua Sha helps to drain out toxins (from an excess of stress hormones), reduce swelling and soothe the pain of menstrual flow.

4. Complements therapy treatments to reduce tourette syndrome
Tourette’s Syndrome is a condition that affects the nervous system, causing sudden and involuntary twitches, referred to as ‘tics’. In a single-patient study published in the US National Library of Medicine, it was found that the use of Gua Sha once a week for 35 weeks to complement the therapy treatments of tourette’s resulted in the significant reduction (75%) of facial tics, throat clearing, and verbal outbursts, though more studies are needed to prove its effectiveness.

5. Reduce chronic inflammation
Interestingly, Gua Sha therapists or TCM doctors can tell which energy pathways are blocked by the colour of the skin. They typically begin with a deep tissue massage or palpations on the body to find specific areas in which skin remains pale after applying deep pressure on the area — indicating that blood flows slowly in that area. There have been some studies in which Gua Sha was used as a therapeutic treatment for liver inflammation caused by hepatitis B. The treatment is said to ‘scrape out’ and drain the toxins built up in organs and reduce enzymes in the liver, but to prove its medical benefit for curing chronic inflammation, more research is required.