How To Use A Gua Sha For A Full Body Massage

If you're looking for a new self-care routine, it's time to jump on the gua sha bandwagon. While you may have seen people mostly using this technique on their faces, the benefits don't stop there. Gua sha body massage is gaining traction fast and for good reason. Far from just an Instagram craze, this massage technique has strong roots in traditional Chinese medicine. 

Simply put, it's a healing massage using a smooth, flat tool. While Chinese practitioners might use all different types of tools, you can typically find an at-home gua sha kit made of jade or quartz with a simple online search. Gua sha uses a scraping or coining technique since the tool is used to scrape the skin. This technique has multiple benefits, including helping with inflammation, posture, and chronic pain. 

When it comes to gua sha body massage, it's a whole different level than facial massage. It also, obviously, covers a lot more surface area. Calm any confusion you might have by trying this simple and easy gua sha body massage technique at home.  

Techniques to give yourself a full body massage

Start by making sure the area is cleaned and sanitized. You don't want any dirt or impurities to get under the skin and cause pimples. Additionally, ensure that you choose the best gua sha stone for you and the area you're working with. It's also key to have some oil on hand. Some of the most popular massage oils include almond, coconut, and shea butter if you're looking for ideas. Rather than adding the oil to your tools, place a few drops in the palm of your hand and work it into the area first as a little pre-massage for your self-care session. 

Now, it's time to grab your tool and get to work. Gianna de la Torre, Jill Munson, and Britta Plug, the co-founders of Wildling, advised The Zoe Report: "When you begin to use the gua sha tool, keep it fairly flat ... It works best around 15 degrees so that a lot of the stone's surface area is flush with the skin." They also recommend using "firm pressure" and working from your extremities toward your heart while avoiding protrusions or lesions like cuts and moles. 

For example, start on your hand and work toward your shoulder or move slowly from your neck to your chest. Be aware that gua sha massage can cause bruising or redness on the skin. WebMD confirms that this is a normal part of the process, though, so don't let them scare you if they arise. 

How often to use gua sha and its benefits

The jury is still out on how often you need to do a full-body gua sha massage. However, the general consensus is that 3-5 days a week provides the maximum benefits. Many even include gua sha as part of their nightly self-care routine. Simply put, you'll want to listen to your body and do what's best for you to reap the abundant benefits of gua sha. 

According to a 2017 study published in the National Library of Medicine, gua sha helped reduce pain more effectively than a hot pack in those with chronic lower back pain. It also "may exhibit a more long-lasting anti-inflammatory effect." Elsewhere, a 2014 study, published in the Archives of Allied Health Sciences, also demonstrated that gua sha therapy had positive benefits in reducing shoulder pain and tension. 

Gua sha has even been shown to improve posture. The benefits don't stop there, either. Licensed acupuncturist Tim Sobo, LAc, pointed out to the Cleveland Clinic that gua sha, when used in conjunction with acupuncture, can help with several medical concerns like migraines, fatigue, and anxiety too. Given the myriad benefits, it might just be time to add a little gua sha body massage to your regular routine.