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Gua sha is a massage you can perform at home as a self-care technique that can promote skin and respiratory healing, tension, and stress relief and even help soothe the pain. The scraping done on the skin oxygenates the blood, promoting deep cellular renewal and healing.
The Gua Sha massage can be a great healing tool for anxiety and insomnia. It helps ease stress and tension; it relaxes your muscles, creating a moment of grouping and self-awareness. This self-massage can actually be seen as a method of self-soothing. This massage technique activates your parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for our body’s rest. When we are running in parasympathetic, our breath is slow, our heart rate is down, and we are at our most relaxed and calm.
The most popular Gua Sha tools are usually stones such as jade, rose quartz, or bine stone, but you can also use a Chinese soup spoon or your regular tablespoon.
Remember that our breath is the most effective tool we have to help us relax. Put your arm on your chest and take 10 deep and slow breaths. Remember to go back to this deep breath as you are scraping and massaging yourself.
Hydrate your skin before. Because water is an excellent lubricant, you can perform the Gua Sha in the shower. Otherwise, use a cream or oil on your skin before you start stroking.
Start from the heart outwards towards the shoulders. Use a light to medium pressure and repeat each stroke about 8 times on each side.You can use a Gua sha that has teeth or comb shape for this area to really wake up the lymph.
Here is an area where we usually hold a lot of tension, so it’s a vital zone to pay attention to. Using a light to medium pressure, start stroking from the back and side of your neck down your shoulders. Repeat each stroke at least 8 times.
One crucial acupressure point in this area is behind your ears. Great for stress and anxiety release, use your Gua Sha to apply pressure gently and use small circular movements to massage this area. Finish with a downward motion to help drainage.
Another point to focus on is right at your hairline base, behind your neck, right under your skull. This is where we tend to hold a lot of pressure. To help release tension, use small downwards stokes or circular motion movements to give this surface more love.
The first point to focus on is right between your eyebrows. Used a Gua Sha with a curved edge to properly access this area. When using light to medium pressure, stroke upwards towards your hairline, stopping to apply a bit extra pressure in your 3rd eye area before moving upward.
The 2nd activation point is on your temples. Use your Gua Sha tool to massage this area using circular motions gently. Do this 10 times and continue the massage by an outward and upwards sweeping motion.
Use the Gua Sha on the soles of your feet in an 8-shape movement. Apply light pressure in this area. Repeat at least 8 times for each foot.
When you do your Gua Sha massage before going to bed, avoid doing any other activities after. As your muscles and mind become more relaxed, it is essential to maintain a slow and soft atmosphere around yourself. Hydrate your body with water or a relaxing tea.
Also, remember to always clean your tool after each use, with soap and warm water.
You can perform this relaxing routine every evening before going to bed. Giving yourself this time and attention can be the beginning of a long term self-love ritual that can boost the health of your nervous system.