Friday, July 24, 2015

Jade Gua Sha tools

After posting the "Beauty Secrets" blog earlier this week, there were views and purchases of the jade rollers for health and beauty.  There are also jade gua sha tools for traditional Chinese health listed on the Ying Yu Jade web site.  And I had many emails asking what they are used for.  There's a short video in the basic description of the jade health tools collection.  After a "real life" use reply to their email, most customers who purchased the jade rollers also purchased a gua sha tool for their first time use.

Gua sha tools have been used in China for centuries.  They are more like a "home remedy" than a Chinese doctor treatment.  When I was in China buying jade gua sha tools, adults would tell me stories about when they were children and started getting a cold or cough their parent would get out the gua sha tool and start scraping their upper back around the neck area, how painful it was and they would cry and try to get away from it.  That's where the meridian for treating coughs, colds and other illness is located.  Instead of taking a pill like we do in USA, gua sha is used for immediate and safe treatment in China and Asian countries.

My first experience with gua sha was after arriving in Beijing after a long and exhausting flight from Ohio in USA, checking into my hotel on Wang Fu Jing street.   I had made arrangements with the hotel to get a private treatment from a Chinese doctor for jet lag so I could make the most of my time in China.  I was surprised the doctor started with a gua sha tool because I assumed it would be acupuncture.  He did the gua sha scraping on my upper back, I felt immediately better, slept wonderfully, and felt great when I got up the next morning.  And that's a surprise because the 12 hour time difference usually takes me a few days to adjust to. 

The doctor and I became friends.  He had heard about yoga and Reiki and wanted to learn them so we decided to teach and learn from each other and became very good friends.  He helped me get started with the jade health tools, and we found a "jade guy" in east north China and went to meet him.  We all drove to Xiuyan to meet with the jade carver and get the "right kind of jade" (genuine, pure and natural) and have them made to western standards (good condition, not cracks, chips and shoddy jade carving).  The doctor had always used buffalo horn gua sha tools.  We discussed how that comes from animal and might not have good qi energy because the animal suffers to make the tool for our use, and he immediately decided that Chinese jade was a much better material.  At the end of my trip, two huge and heavy boxes of jade rollers, gua sha tools, acupressure rings, and Chinese jade bangle bracelets and pendants were shipped to USA for me.

Gua sha can be used for a variety of conditions.  For example, if you have body pain, stiff neck, the gentle scraping is similar to myofascial therapy.  In China, scraping with gua sha is quite severe and you know when you can hardly tolerate it anymore, the treatment is over.  It leaves a bruise like mark on your body from the raising of the blood, which is the healing process.  I sometimes use a jade gua sha tool on my "restless leg" days, which helps.  These two styles are the ones I personally like for the way they are carved and able to use on different body parts including hands and feet.


Jade Gua Sha Tools  

Unfortunately, there are some estheticians who advertise using these on the face for "beauty".  I cringe when someone who bought a gua sha tool writes to tell me how much they like it and use it on their face often because using this on your face will break the small capillaries and make your face look worse.  And perhaps can't be reversed.  

So jade gua sha is for health and wellness, NOT for face.  If you are going to use a gua sha tool moderately and NOT raise the petechiae (blood mark that looks like a bruise) it's safe to experiment with.  However, I suggest you find a Chinese doctor and tell your symptoms to get a Chinese meridian diagnosis, then get specific instructions for using it on yourself.  There are workshops healers who use gua sha attend so they know how to use them, so make sure the practitioner you choose has certificate of completion of a workshop, or is a Chinese doctor.  Light scraping "on your own" is beneficial, but deep gua sha work really needs instruction.

When I got my gua sha treatment in China, and was out and about and the gua sha petechiae was very obvious on my body, Chinese people who saw it would smile at me and give me the "thumbs up".  It's so common and healthful in China, and has so much potential for the rest of the world.

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