What is Gua Sha?

Gua sha is a therapeutic healing technique, that has been widely practised in China for thousands of years. It involves using a round-edged tool, traditionally made from materials such as jade or metal, to pressstroke the skin until redness appears.

It has been shown in studies to increase micro-circulation by 400%, clear inflammation and increase immunity.

Gua sha is a fantastic way to directly support the immune system. Firstly, it helps disperse toxins through increased circulation. Then as the blood is reabsorbed by the body it promotes an enzyme (HO-1) which is both antiinflammatory and immune boosting.

It offers a unique stimulation of the immune system through fascia and connective tissue. Keeping our fascia moving is an important prevention strategy. As the lymphatic channels run through fascia, when fascia is ‘slippery’, the lymph fluid moves through easily and the immune cells within the lymph fluid are able to fight infections and subsequently, reduce inflammation.

Rose Quartz Gua Sha Facila Tool

Gua Sha - How to start?

Start by focusing on the chest, neck and upper back because it helps to clear lymph, moves blood and reduces inflammation – which weakens one’s immunity. The lymph nodes and tonsils are all in that area, so this motion keeps them clear and working at full capacity. You can reach most areas of the body yourself; and rope in a friend or partner to treat your back.

Gua sha has been shown to exponentially increase blood flow to the surface of the skin, which scientists believe works in a number of ways. Firstly it helps disperse toxins by increased circulation and aiding the lymphatic and immune systems. Then as the blood is reabsorbed by the body it promotes an enzyme with anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.

“According to Chinese medicine, by regularly clearing toxins from the body, particularly from the joints, back, neck and shoulders, external pathogens are prevented from establishing a foothold, thereby reducing the likelihood of serious illness further down the line.”

- Katie Brindle

A Few Pointers

Gua sha shouldn’t be painful. If in doubt, start very gently and work up to the pressure of scratching an itchy insect bite. We say 8 strokes as a guide, which is enough to effectively bring up a red flush. If in doubt, stop.

We associate redness with bruising and pain in the West, but in this instance it’s in fact healing and satisfying. Most people feel a sense of weightlessness, pain relief, greater energy and many even report feeling ‘lighter’ after a treatment session.

The position, colour and form of the redness (or Sha) can vary according to the area, degree and nature of a health problem in the body. For this reason, gua sha can also be an indicator of what’s going on internally. The Sha will vary from light brown to almost black, depending on the level of toxicity in your body.

Lady Using a Rose Quartz Facila Gua Sha Tool

Gua Sha - How Sha varies

Red – a recent invasion of external disease .

Dark red – heat, inflammation or acidity in the local area Purple or very dark red – long-standing stagnation and damaged tissue. 

Darker skin tones will show less Sha than lighter skin tones; it will still be there, just harder to see.

IMPORTANT: Do not perform gua sha over broken skin, broken veins, moles, cuts, bruises or rosacea. Individual results may vary depending on age, skin type, sensitivity & skincare history. Wait until any redness has subsided before re-treating that area.