Let's Talk Gua Sha
What is Gua Sha?
Pronounced Gwa Sa, this scraping tool is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) healing modality that can be used for both body and face work. Recently, the benefits have been widely touted in the beauty & wellness industries, but there is a long standing tradition for various ways to work with this tool.
Gua means to scrape & Sha means sand. The name points to how the tool is used & the effect it has during Body Work. When use to scrape the body, it produces little red dots similar to sand. Body Gua Sha & Facial Gua Sha really just refers to a variance in technique of the Gua Sha practice, but most notably in the pressure used. Practicing Gua Sha on the face often means using a very light pressure, with slower strokes, and you do not want to see bruising or redness after use on the face. I hold my tool with a very low angle to the face, so more of the flat part is used during scraping.
Gua Sha for facial work helps in draining lymph fluid from the face, to gently stimulate circulation for improved complexion, and for myofascial release.
Gua Sha for body work requires a stronger, faster pressure. I use more of the edge of the tool for body Gua Sha. You use the same tool for both facial & body work.
Why use Gua Sha?
This tool is bound to become a favorite part of your skincare routine. At the most basic level, gently scraping your skin with a Gua Sha feels really good. It’s like a mini facial massage every time you use it.
But beneath the skin’s surface, much is happening. Most notably is practicing Gua Sha helps move excess lymph fluid & build up from the face. Moving lymph from the face and down to the neck assists immune system, reduces the duration of breakout, reduces puffiness from skin, minimizes skin irritations & is often promoted for reducing fine lines.
The lymphatic system is a huge component of our immune system. It works by disposing of excess in the body- whether that’s excess built up in the skin from makeup, heavy metals, bacteria from an open breakout or wearing a face mask, or other pathogens.
Gua Sha scraping on the face gently stimulates circulation to the skin’s surface. By using a very light pressure, you can coax blood flow to the surface of skin to help refresh complexion. Increasing blood flow to an area of the body helps speed up recovery of a skin irritation (such as eczema or a pimple) while rejuvenating.
Additionally, this tool is great for helping to release myofascial tension. In particular, we love to focus gently scraping the tool along our brow bone & jaw line. Both of these areas are typical areas of tension, and by releasing these areas through gentle pressure & Gua Sha scraping, you will feel a difference. Benefits may include reduced tension headaches, general relaxation and minimized upper body tension.
Cultural Appropriation with Gua Sha
While we love Gua Sha & are so happy to be sharing our ethically crafted tools with you, we want to recognize that Gua Sha comes from Chinese traditions & culture. We want to increase the acceptance of this tool & practice, and to do so ethically means to acknowledge the history and traditions behind this folk medicine practice.
Gua Sha was written into medical texts during the Ming Dynasty. Since this time, it has fallen in and out of acceptance with mainstream society. Until the recent spiked interest in Gua Sha & it’s benefits, this practice was often looked down upon.
Traditional practices offer us so much insight into ways to care for ourselves, and it’s important to honor the traditional context of this practice without co-opting it.
Where does 5D source Gua Sha from?
Ethical sourcing is at the helm of our brand, and we don’t skip a beat with our Gua Sha either. Our Gua Sha are ethically crafted by artisan Peyton Flynn (Cloud 9 Clay) in her Philadelphia studio. Each Gua Sha is one of a kind, crafted with porcelain clay & finished with a clear glass glaze. Crystal & gemstone Gua Sha are often not ethically harvested from the land. Crystal harvesting is a problematic industry, and you won’t find 5th Dimension supporting that.
We are not the best, only, or first brand to work with Gua Sha, and I encourage you to move with skepticism if someone claims that about the Gua Sha tools they are selling- as that erases the long tradition of Gua Sha makers & practioners.