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Acupuncturist, Gua She expert, and TCM graduate Sarah Jystad provides a beginners introduction to the traditional Chinese medicine that is gua sha. From what the name means, the techniques, and more, discover what Gua Sha is and the benefits it can provide you.
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um For people who don't know can you tell us what gua sha is happily. Um So Gua sha directly translates to like like bringing up sand um And essentially Gua sha is a massage technique that uses the scraping of a tool on the body um And scraping doesn't mean like scratching, it just means like like rubbing the tool on the body. Um And when you do gua sha it's to help move stagnant blood or stagnant qi um because we we think about pain and chinese medicine as stagnation um things not moving the way they're supposed to be moving or if there was like a traumatic injury or someone's in like one position for a really long time. And that creates like um adhesions. You know like um connective tissue adhesions. Um And people like also um it's really great to work on fascia. So fascia is connected tissue that covers everything on the inside everybody or organs, blood blood vessels, muscles, joints and the fashion can like change form but you need to increase blood movement to it but also help loosen it up. It's like a really amazing element too. Um Look at with gua sha and um when you use it on the body it's really vigorous and it's it can create bruising and bruising or particular is what we call sand or shaw. So when we are like scraping the back of someone's neck where you look for shaw um And we think about it as like heat or toxins or like oh great, we've caused like some irritation to that area and so we're moving blood in that area. It's like a positive kind of irritation. Um Kind of like when you use tiger balm or something like that, you're using the irritation of those of the camp for or the men thaw to increase blood in that area and to distract from the pain. But the gua sha itself is is helping like move things. Um And yeah, so I was so interested that you could use the tool um on different parts of your body too. So like in our in the workshop we did with you, we were using it on our neck and like our upper back which felt so amazing because I hold a lot of tension there and it was just such a nice um just release and um just relaxing on my muscles right there, which I had never thought of before. I mean I was just using my squash on my face. I thought that was the only way you're supposed to use it. Yeah, and it's so great that like more and more people like yourself are using wash on the face. Um and I think that's something that I learned in my studies that blew my mind is like the neck is like a channel to the face and head. So like if you open up the neck you also help increase the flow of uh lymph and blood and she um And also we are often um sitting too much and we look at our phones a lot and that creates like a sort of physical pattern that can create tension. Um Also a lot of people just hold a lot of tension in our neck and shoulders. It's sort of like a turtle. Ng I have it too. I have like super uh intense neck tension sometimes but it's it's more under control since I started doing gua sha. Yeah. I mean it was so crazy to me how quickly it worked. Yeah. So I remember we did one side of our face first and I could just feel that side of my face was just totally drained. Um And the other side felt so different. So it's just amazing that like how quickly you can see results and then feel them also. Yeah, definitely. It's it's really relaxing um and you're really moving the lymph um and in gua sha does have immediate effects um and it also has long term effects. So people you can also like use it for like um what I like to call healthy aging or vital aging. Can you talk a little bit more about like the healthy aging or what other benefits? Um You can see from right away from gua sha or practicing it over time. Yeah, definitely. Um So I think of healthy aging as maintaining the energy and being able to like adopt and address like the different stressors we inevitably experience in life. And um I also think about it as like to help prevent chronic diseases as well as chronic pain or at least find ways to manage it so that people can still have a high quality of life as we get into our older years. Um And then for healthy aging of like the face and the body um it has a lot to do with circulation, so the more your blood circulates in the more lymph you drain, the more nutrients you're getting to your skin and also the more toxins you're helping move out of your skin. Our skin is sort of like the third tier of our natural detox process, the liver being the first one and the kidneys being second. Um And so the more we can kind of help move that out of our face. Um the more of the good stuff, the yummy stuff that keeps us juicy um gets to it.
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