The Origins of Gua Sha
If you’re into beauty and skincare, you’ve probably heard of gua sha. But while your favorite influencer might be raving about the benefits, you might not be familiar with the history behind the practice. Today, we’re sharing a little bit about the origins in honor of AAPI heritage month.
A refresher on gua sha
Gua sha is an ancient Chinese method of purification that releases toxins and imbalances from the body. “Gua” is a Chinese word that translates to “scrape,” and “sha” translates to “redness of skin” or “sand.”
Historical records on gua sha date back to the paleolithic age (2.5 million years ago). It is a traditional medicine that was used widely by the ancient Chinese, and was written into important medical records during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
This therapy is closely related to the Traditional Chinese Medicine theory of meridians and collateral which guides treatments such as acupuncture, massage, cupping, and gua sha.
Gua sha is understood to stimulate blood flow, support lymphatic drainage, and break down tension in muscles and knots in the face, neck, and shoulders. It’s also known to remove coldness, negative energy, and toxic heat. When used in a skincare capacity, this practice reduces facial lines and puffiness, highlights the cheekbones and sculpts the face’s features, lifts and firms skin, and promotes a smoother complexion.
It's important to acknowledge the history of this practice, and to think carefully about the products you’re using. Are they created by an Asian-owned brand or does the brand acknowledge the origins of the practice? If you’re looking to try out gua sha for yourself, educate yourself, and consider purchasing from Asian-owned brands like one of our favorite beauty brands, Mount Lai. Created by Stephanie Zheng, Mount Lai is a tribute to the founder’s grandmother, who had been practicing jade rolling and gua sha for over 50 years and first introduced Stephanie to the practice. You can shop a few of our favorites below.