An Introduction to Ancient Healing: the Basics of Gua Sha

Written by Lynette O’Quinn and Shelia Shelton, owners at Resurgence

Recently, gua sha treatments were all the buzz in skin care. Sadly, the word, and its treatment, came and left as quickly as people could pronounce it. But, this folklore fad is worth falling in love with. Here are some need-to-know facts about the treatment that will hopefully rekindle the flame.


The word “gua sha” is an ancient treatment system from East Asia. It was also practiced in ancient Greece, as well as in ancient Rome, used with a strigil, friction massage, and wild olive oil. Its main purpose appears to be ridding the body of stagnation and cleansing the cells for whole body wellness, to maintain youth.


Though even Hippocrates understood the value of this technology, its use is not limited to the past. With modern-day wisdom, the same, if not better, results can be achieved, without the extreme friction methodology. For example, today there are a vast amount of antibiotics and cleaning agents to keep individuals receiving the treatments clean from the plagues that affected ancient users.


So, what is gua sha? The word “gua” means to scrape, while “sha,” depending on the reference material read, seems to have several meanings. One interpretation is “dirt” or “sand,” while another is “blood stasis.” Still, to incorporate this into today’s market, perhaps the definition is not as important as understanding the power of its treatment and how it can help clients create a sense of well-being and youthfulness. Gua sha promotes healthy skin through detoxification, creating circulation, stimulating collagen, and aiding in flushing the lymphatic system; and, if performed properly, it releases stagnation in the skin’s tissue so the skin may regain its elasticity.


The most important thing for a professional interested in gua sha is finding the right tool and a system they feel comfortable with for the results they plan to deliver. Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and this may be the best approach when incorporating these services.


Using the correct tool and following a pattern, professionals can obtain amazing results in their first treatment session. The tool is typically a stone. Jade is most often used during these treatments, but, the type of stone is up to a practitioner’s discretion.


Implementing this treatment in the spa as an add-on or part of a package is a great way to help clients look younger and feel better from a holistic approach. Utilizing this stone smoothing method on the face for anti-aging benefits is relatively new as the history of gua sha is based on the skin’s reaction to friction, creating blood flow to the surface of the skin. To use it on the face, the practitioner must be knowledgeable about gua sha patterns and be mindful of the amount of pressure used, which will induce the effects without visible marks.


Incorporating this new program, professionals can increase their bottom line and add a healthy aging treatment to their menus. A beauty gua sha treatment can stand alone as an anti-aging face treatment to lift, firm, tighten, and reduce puffiness and sagging within the first treatment. Creating a regimen package for the client is also an option. The lifting, firming, tightening, collagen production, and improved circulation induced by gua sha will enhance any other modality for facial treatment, making it a valuable add-on treatment, as well.


Folklore fads sometimes have merit. Explore the possibilities of gua sha and learn how it can help achieve health, wealth, happiness, and beauty.

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