Justin Bieber uses one on his neck. Elle McPherson reportedly self-treats along her meridian lines to decongest her pores and target sagging skin. Gwyneth Paltrow allegedly does it as part of her many daily beauty and toxin-eliminating rituals.
More and more of us are “spooning,” “friction-stroking,” “skimming,” and indulging in “tribo-effleurage.” MFR (Myco-fascial release) and IASTM (instrument-assisted self- mobilization) are on-trend, and no self-respecting self-treater must be without his or her Gua Sha tool.
“Gua sha” or “kerokan” has been around a long time. For centuries, Chinese medicine has employed skin scraping and sanding techniques using bian, jade, obsidian, rose quartz amethyst, and nephrite to boost blood and energy flow. Regular self-massage and “body brushing” stimulating the lymphatic and immune system may increase the micro-circulation by as much as 400%.
Varying pressures and angles of the stones work different layers of the skin with techniques that are specific to lymphatic drainage (surface), fine lines, and deep wrinkles (middle layer). Regular facial “gua sha” sessions help drain puffiness. The board should be held at a 15-degree angle, almost flat against the skin. Some studies indicate it may be helpful as a treatment for migraines and mastitis. Bian has 40 trace elements and minerals.
Chinese medicine practitioner and the author of “ The Art of Chinese Self Healing” Katie Brindle has distilled twenty-five centuries of ancient wisdom into a set of one-minute daily rituals- the Hayo’u Method. As well as qigong movements, bamboo body tapping (bamboo tapper £22), hair and body combing ( Xiyan jade beauty restorer £30), breathing exercises, highly therapeutic “a fa” ( press and hold), gua sha ( press and stroke) and acupressure ( press and turn) clears areas of stagnation, releases deeply held tension and encourages oxygen and nutrients to the skin surface. And your parasympathetic nervous system is reset.
“Yang sheng is about developing a conscious approach towards oneself, a mechanism of self-support,” says Katie. “The Hayo’u Method addresses the root cause of most modern-day illness – inflammation. Currently, the only anti-inflammatory solutions offered are diet-based.
“These simple rituals, including gua sha, reduce stress and inflammation on a daily basis. The techniques relax the body, enable free flow of circulation, and assist detoxification by supporting the lymphatic system. Classic Chinese medicine offers a vast array of phenomenally powerful self-healing techniques. My role is to translate this life-changing wisdom into simple, enjoyable techniques that will have an immediate effect on your wellbeing.”
Alongside practicing massage and reflexology, Katie studied TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and qualified as a Five Elements Chinese medical practitioner, graduating from the UK’s Integrated College of Chinese Medicine. She worked as a self-employed therapist specializing in Asian therapies, including Tui Na Massage, reflexology, and acupressure.
“I’m now committed to increasing awareness of this ancient wisdom and encouraging people to master their health. My aim is to make Chinese medicine achievable and accessible. And as habitual as brushing your teeth.”