The benefits of body gua sha
The ancient Chinese massage technique is best known for facial practice but works wonders on the rest of the body, too
Restore your body to its best
How often do you end the day feeling worn out and stressed? For many of us, it’s so often the norm. But stress is our body on high alert, causing inflammation, dampening immunity and constricting circulation – all bad news for our health. Yet we don’t have to live in this state.There is actually a simple and quick way to release tension where it’s stored in the body, improving our immunity, circulation, sleep and general sense of calm and wellbeing. It doesn’t cost the earth and it only takes a minute.
More than a massage
For millennia, a therapeutic healing technique, known as gua sha, has been widely practised in China. It involves using a round-edged tool, traditionally made from materials such as jade or metal, to press-stroke the skin until redness appears. Gua sha has been used to treat a whole range of conditions, from fever to chronic cough and migraines. In fact, it has been shown in studies to increase micro-circulation by 400%, clear inflammation and increase immunity. But that’s not all – gua sha is also renowned for maintaining and strengthening the constitution and even improving your sleep.
Gua sha in action
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.
The Hayo’u Method body ritual
Hayo’u founder and Chinese medicine practitioner Katie Brindle has distilled the essence of this ancient practice of gua sha into a simple one-minute self-massage ritual, designed to meet the needs of modern life. For best results use in the evening after a mineral bath, with Hayo’u Body Oil. Press and stroke the Hayo’u Body Restorer over the chest from right to left with eight sweeps, to aid circulation. Next, press and stroke the tool along the neck and down each shoulder with eight sweeps in each direction to relieve tension. Finally, press and stroke the tool anywhere on the back that feels tense.
The perfect pressure
When you use the Hayo’u Body Restorer to press-stroke your skin, it shouldn’t be painful. If in doubt, start very gently and work up to the pressure of scratching an itchy insect bite. We say eight 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. Do not perform gua sha over broken skin, broken veins, moles, cuts, bruises or rosacea.