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Considered an ancient Chinese scraping technique, Gua Sha is a form of massage in which the skin is usually pressed or stroked with different massage tools. The massage relieves muscle tension and works wonders for headaches and jaw cramps and spasms while making the skin smoother, more radiant, and healthy.
The ‘Gua’, which means scrape, and ‘Sha’, which means sand, is a treatment that should be carried out carefully and gently by following a step-by-step guide. Though a lot of physicians and chiropractors are using this remedy in their therapy sessions, the gua sha massage can also be integrated by regular individuals in their daily health care routines.
Scraping therapy improves slow blood flow and prevents many common ailments like head congestion, neck pain, and tension headaches and migraines.
With that being said, here’s a short guide on how to benefit from a gua sha massage in the privacy of your own home whenever you experience migraines and headaches:
Before starting the massage, prepare your face and neck by cleansing them first. After this first step, using water and facial oil on this whole area is essential to make your skin moist and hydrated. When performing the gua sha your muscles will release toxins through the skin, and scraping on dry skin will only further irritate the area.
As you begin the massage, touch your face lightly and identify your most painful points with your fingers. Also known as muscle “knots,” trigger points are sore spots in your muscle tissue that can cause an unpleasant domino effect and set off migraines. Typically, these trigger points are found on your face, neck, and scalp and are directly associated with the pain you are experiencing.
1. Starting from your forehead to the base of your skull, use a gua sha board to perform the massage.
Make sure you are holding the tool flat against your skin. Please do not use any sharp or pointed edges or apply too much force because it can overstimulate the areas you’re going over.
You might experience some pain as you go over the trigger points, so try and be mindful and slow when doing a Gua Sha massage. The pressure you apply should be light to medium, but if the pressure is making you feel uncomfortable, you can always use a cloth and cover your head with it while performing the same sequence of movements.
2. Repeat 10 to 15 times on one side, and then switch it up by going from the base of your skull or your forehead to your jawline.
3. After this, focus on the area that hurts the most, and scrape up and down. Performing these strokes on your face will improve your blood circulation and drain your lymphatic tissue surrounding your head and neck.
This treatment can will require a gua sha board with wider curve to scrape bigger surface area. While some prefer to use tools made from jade, rose quartz, crystalline, or amethyst, some use simple,flat, yet firm instruments to relax stiff muscles around the face.
The aim of Gua Sha is to stimulate tight muscles and other connective tissues, so after a session go easy on your face and wash it gently with lukewarm water. It’s also advised to take at least an hour of downtime before any other major activity, but in case you need to leave the house don’t forget to use sun cream to protect your skin.
If your migraine hasn’t improved, begin to slowly stroke your neck and repeat the same movements. Sometimes, the treatment can be more effective if the massage is performed only on the trigger points.
The more often you will do facial Gua Sha for migraines, the more results you’ll see: from less facial swelling around your eyes and cheeks to less jaw tightness and neck tension, the benefits of Gua Sha are priceless.