Abundant Life Well-Being
Although Gua Sha is an ancient healing technique used by Chinese Medicine practitioners for thousands of years, it is relatively unknown in the West. It is recognized throughout Asia as a highly effective treatment for chronic pain conditions, stress, fatigue, and a host of other ailments.
First, Gua Sha oil is applied to a specific meridian (energy pathway) on your body. I then use a smooth round-edged object (such as a spoon) to apply short brisk strokes to that area. This creates red patches of skin (called "Sha"), detoxifying your blood and restoring the healthy flow if Qi (energy) to the area. There is no pain involved, and the Sha will typically fade in 2 to 3 days. But the sense of health and vitality you experience from it will last much longer.
This is a demonstration of gua sha by an acupuncturist who studied at my school, the Academy of Oriental Medicine. So we have similar gua sha techniques of fast strokes that create effect without being harsh. This demo provides circulatory and muscular benefit, but the model did not get results that showed the more pronounced petechiae (tiny red spots) that would result from deeper stagnation of chronic pain.
Facial Gua Sha for Lymphatic Drainage, Detox, & Circulation
Gua Sha is used in a different manner for Facial Rejuvenation. The gua sha board can be used almost lying flat so that it will glide along the skin in a very gentle relaxing manner or used at an angle but still with less pressure than that used for remedying chronic body aches and pains. The purpose in facial gua sha is primarily focused on lymphatic drainage, circulation and lifting/contouring. Lymphatic drainage requires the light touch. The gua sha boards designed for the face are designed to be different from the spoons, boards or horns used for body gua sha. Most facial gua sha boards have differing edges to correspond with the different contours of the face as well as allowing both the gliding movement for lymphatic and circulation benefits and for the possibility of using the gua sha board for acupressure techniques of tight stressed areas. The cool flat gemstone boards, jade and rose quartz being two popular choices, can also be laid flat under the eye to help reduce puffiness.
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Gua Sha for the Body
Here are two additional demonstrations by acupuncturists using slightly more vigorous pressure techniques than what we practiced at AOMA with our Chinese MD instructors, but these demonstrations do show variations of more pronounced petechiae that Gua Sha can produce when it is releasing stagnated blood from chronic pain areas. Even with the use of more moderate pressure, a person with notable stagnation issues could find their gua sha session resulting in surprising "sha marks". To the novice eye it can look alarming, but rest assured, the client enjoys the AOMA gua sha technique, and all clients, in these demos as well as those receiving the AOMA technique, are thrilled with the quick release of pain and opening of range of motion.