Gua Sha: what is that?
Gua sha is widely known as lymphatic drainage massage, which helps the lymphatic system work more effectively by stimulating the connective tissue surrounding muscles, nerves and veins. This practice also improves blood circulation and helps eliminate toxins from the body.
The secret is to apply pressure, which has to be firm, but not painful, to really work. It is also important to repeat each stroke seven or eight times before changing position so that I can penetrate into the deepest knots.
Gua sha is not just a way to reduce water retention or to ‘purge’: it is a general wellbeing technique.
The benefits of gua sha
- It can help energy levels: gua sha improves the capacity of the mitochondria, also known as the ability to take food and turn it into energy within our cells to keep us healthy and stay functional.
- Can improve feelings of sluggishness and bloating: these massages also prevent physical illness and lethargy. In fact, a stagnant lymphatic system can cause a weakening of the immune system, leaving us prone to feeling sluggish.
- Muscle relaxation: relaxed muscles are another benefit of the gua sha, as scraping helps loosen knots in the muscle fibres by loosening the fascia.
- Reduces water retention and inflammation: gua sha also drains excess fluid from the body, reducing inflammation and water retention.
What can’t gua sha do?
One of the biggest misconceptions of gua sha is that it can help you lose fat or excess weight. This isn’t true because gua sha can unknot muscle tension and promote drainage of unwanted stagnated fluids, it helps to reduce swelling and can make you feel lighter in your body.
Weight loss and fat loss are only beneficial goals when achieved in a healthy way. Instead, quality sleep, stress management, regular movement and a balanced diet are better goals to aim for.
Similarly, the popular untruth about using a gua sha for cellulite reduction does much more harm than good.
Cellulite is determined by hormones, genetic factors, as well as the structure in which fat cells sit underneath the skin. Using a gua sha will not change these factors.
First time using gua sha? then you definitely need to know these important steps.
Soreness or tenderness is completely normal at first, especially if you’re using harder pressure, and this may last for a few days. You may also experience bruising or temporary marking, but be careful not to be too heavy with the practise.
The natural stones often used are porous and easily harbour bacteria, so it’s important to keep them clean.
While gua sha massages are a relatively gentle and harmless practice, there are a few people who should approach it with caution: if you’re pregnant, taking anticoagulants, undergoing active cancer treatment, or if you have a recent history of thrombosis, you should avoid using a gua sha. You should also be cautious around any open wounds.