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Scraping Massage

Click here for a great video of GUASHA

Like with all facial massage it:

• Reduces wrinkles, lines, and folds
• Promotes collagen production
• Increases skin firmness
• Accelerates skin rejuventation
• Promotes blood circulation – activates Qi
• Helps eliminate toxins and increases the metabolism
• Strengthens immunological functions
Guasha Therapy is the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) art of facial and body scraping for beauty, health, and wellness; similar to acupuncture treatment, but without the use of intrusive needles. The Guasha technique helps to restore and re-balance the vital energy system in the body, which eliminates pathogenic factors directly. It has been practiced for more than 25 centuries by the Chinese people and is a precious heritage of traditional Chinese medical science and massage therapy. Like Acupuncture and Feng Shui, Guasha Therapy is recognized for its positive energy, and its ability to repair aesthetic problems. Be careful not to be to vigorous and damage, bruise, or break the skin.

Chinese Guasha Facial massage is performed by applying gentle scraping with unique shaped Jade or ceramic plates, and essential oil, oil, or cream on specific points and meridians/meridian points on the face and body. The Guasha technique is based on meridian scraping theory. In TCM, there are 14 meridian pathways with corresponding acupuncture points distributed throughout the body and connected to each organ system. The face has direct meridian connections to nine of the major meridians of the body.

Via Dr. Oz

Scrape Away Pain: Gua Sha

When I was finishing my undergraduate coursework, I was working part-time in a hospital research department. My co-workers knew I had my eyes set on Eastern Medical training. On rare occasions, questions concerning Eastern Medicine would arise, and these questions would always be directed toward me.


Young, naïve and inexperienced, I was just as curious as they were. One morning, I had an email sent to me, with a web link to a forum for cardiologists. A picture depicting the back of a gentleman was displayed on the website. His back was scraped and bruised in a specific pattern unlike anything I had ever seen before. Under this picture, a simple caption read “What is this?” and I was utterly dumbfounded. As it turns out, gua sha is what it was.


As I was finishing my clinical training in Beijing, I would find myself smiling at the memory of that picture; something that once seemed so dumbfounding had become something I was so commonly administering to patients.  Gua sha is a common practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and an invaluable technique in an acupuncturist’s armamentarium.


Gua sha is an ancient healing technique used by many clinicians of TCM. In this procedure, a lubricating medium, such as massage oil, is applied to the skin of the area to be treated. A smooth-edged instrument is used by the acupuncturist to apply short or long strokes on the skin, typically in the area of pain or on the back parallel to the spine. This stroking motion creates raised redness (petechiae) or bruising (ecchymosis).


Pain, both acute and chronic, is the most common indication for gua sha. In the TCM tradition, pain is oftentimes caused by the stagnation of blood in the local area of discomfort. The guiding principle behind gua sha is that this technique has the ability to break up stagnation, to promote the smooth flow of blood in the area, thereby relieving pain.


While gua sha is most commonly used to treat pain, it can also be utilized by TCM clinicians to address conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, colds, flu, fever, heatstroke, fibromyalgia, strains, sprains, and muscle spasms.


There are several theories that may explain why this ancient technique works: gua sha increases blood flow (microcirculation) in the soft tissue, potentially stimulates the body’s natural pain-relieving opioid systems, and it may block the pain response pathways so you feel pain relief.


Some view gua sha as folk medicine, but the scientific research community may beg to differ! Researchers from institutions like Harvard and Beth Israel Medical Center are demonstrating both efficacy as well as offering insight on why gua sha works. A study published in a 2011 edition of Pain Medicine demonstrated that gua sha decreased pain for chronic neck pain sufferers, noting that “neck pain severity after 1 week improved significantly better in the gua sha group compared with the control group (heat therapy).”

Acupuncture Facial: The New Facelift?

Is an acupuncture facial the new facelift?

In facial rejuvenation acupuncture another form of cosmetic acupuncture the goal of an acupuncture facial is to eliminate wrinkles and muscle tension that may be causing facial lines.   Needles are put into acupuncture points that stimulates the body’s natural energies, called Qi.

What is Qi?

Qi  is an active principle forming part of any living thing.  Qi is translated as being life energy, energy flow or life force.   Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine.

English: Acupuncture needles. Deutsch: Akupunk...

English: Acupuncture needles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does it feel like?  How does it lift the facial muscles and soften wrinkles?

There can be a faint pinching or pricking feeling when needles are inserted into certain areas of the face but the feeling quickly goes away. You are usually left feeling a slight warmth or tingly sensation rolling on the face.  There is no definitive research on the benefits of facial acupuncture.  However that feeling could be the result of an increase in Qi (energy) and Xue (blood) to the area. The needles are supposed to be causing “micro-irritation” under the skin, which helps to reduce wrinkles.  While reducing muscle tension and causing the facial muscles to tighten making the face look firmer and helping to ease certain facial contractions.  A needle penetrating the dermis creates damage making the body respond by producing collagen.

How much does it cost?  How Many treatments will I need?  What it can not do?

The result is subtle with about 30% of the result you would see from a conventional face lift.  It does not stop the movement of the facial muscles that creates lines like Botox can.  Nor can it tighten or even out the skin as surgery or injectable fillers (such as Restylane) can.  You will need a series of 10 to 16 sessions; this not a one visit treatment; (every week or twice a week) with monthly follow-up sessions for maintenance.    Each session costs approximately $125-$200.

How do I pick an Acupuncturist?

When choosing an acupuncturist for  facial rejuvenation look for someone who not only has training in this area, but who has graduated with a master’s degree from an accredited Oriental medicine school and passed the national board examinations. The National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is a good place to start and also check to make sure is he or she is licensed in your state.  This not for everyone although acupuncture has been used to help people with migraines, seizure disorders, or high blood pressure, for example, they are probably not good candidates for cosmetic acupuncture.   If you are thinking about having this procedure done ask for a consultation first to make sure that you can have the treatment.  Acupuncture facials are a good choice for people who do not want more drastic procedures.

What are Wrinkles?

Wrinkles are a by-product of the aging process. As we age, the cells of the skin divide slower and slower, and the dermis of the skin, begins to thin. The network of elastin (the elastic protein found in connective tissue which causes skin to stretch) and collagen fibers (proteins in the skin, which support the skins structure), loosen and unravel.  Which then causes depressions on the skin’s surface. With aging, skin also loses its elasticity making it harder to retain moisture.  Oil-secreting glands become less productive and the skin heals at a slower rate.   All of these factors contribute to the creation of wrinkles.



While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.

What is Ayurveda?

I always wondered what Ayurveda was, here is what I’ve found:

Ayurveda “the knowledge for long life”; is a Hindu system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine.

Ayurveda stresses a balance of three elemental energies or humors:

Vāyu vāta (air & space – “wind”) is the impulse principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system. It affects the windy humour, flatulence, gout, rheumatism, etc.

Pitta (fire & water – “bile”) is the bilious humour, or that secreted between the stomach and bowels and flowing through the liver and permeating spleen, heart, eyes, and skin; its chief quality is heat.   It is the energy principle which uses bile to direct digestion and hence metabolism into the venous system.

Kapha (water & earth – “phlegm”) is the body fluid principle which relates to mucous, lubrication and the carrier of nutrients into the arterial system.

Schematic showing the three humors in ayurveda (pitta – vata – kapha ) and the “5 great elements” that they are composed from.

These three substances — doṣas  (dosha) are important for health, because when they are unbalanced you too are unbalanced.  These teachings are also known as the Tridosha system.  One theory asserts that each human possesses a unique combination of doṣas that define that person’s temperament and characteristics.

Dosha Quiz:

In ayurveda, unlike the Sāṅkhya and Nyaya philosophical system, there are 20 fundamental qualities, guṇa  inherent in all substances.  

Ayurvedic theory asserts that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining good digestion, and proper excretion leads to vitality; while also focusing on exercise, yoga, and meditation.

Ayurveda is sometimes called “the science of eight components” they are:

  1. Internal medicine (Kāya-cikitsā)
  2. Pediatrics (Kaumārabhṛtyam)
  3. Surgery (Śalya-cikitsā)
  4. Eye and ENT (Śālākya tantra)
  5. Psychiatry (Bhūta vidyā)
  6. Toxicology (Agadatantram)
  7. Prevention of diseases and improving immunity and rejuvenation (Rasayana)
  8. Aphrodisiacs and improving health of progeny (Vajikaranam)

The origin of ayurvedic medicine is attributed to Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods, in Hindu mythology.

Balance in emphasized in ayurvedic medicine, known in Buddhism as Madhyamaka; suppressing natural urges is seen to be unhealthy, and doing so claimed to lead to illness.  However, people are cautioned to stay within the limits of reasonable balance and measure.

The practice of panchakarma is a therapeutic way of eliminating toxic elements from the body.

The Charaka Samhita recommends a ten step examination (diagnosis) of the patient.

  1. constitution
  2. abnormality
  3. essence
  4. stability
  5. body measurements
  6. diet suitability
  7. psychic strength
  8. digestive capacity
  9. physical fitness
  10. age

In addition, Ananda S. Chopra (Medicine Across Cultures:  History and Practice of Medicine in Non-Western … By Helaine Selin, Hugh Shapiro) identifies five influential criteria for diagnosis:

  1. origin of the disease
  2. pronominal (precursory) symptoms
  3. typical symptoms of the fully developed disease
  4. observing the effect of therapeutic procedures
  5. the pathological process’

Ayurvedic practitioners approach diagnosis by using all five senses.  Hearing is used to observe the condition of breathing and speech.  The study of the lethal or sensitive points or marman marma is of special importance.

Ayurvedic practioners regard physical and mental existence together with personality as a unit, each element having the capacity to influence the others.

Hygiene is a central practice of ayurvedic medicine.   Living hygienically involves regular bathing, cleansing of teeth, skin care, and eye washing.  Daily anointing of the body with oil is also prescribed.

Ensuring the proper functions of channels (srotas) that transport fluids from one point to another is a vital goal of ayurvedic medicine.  Practitioners induce sweating and prescribe the use of steam-based treatments as a means to open up the channels and dilute the doshas that cause the blockages and lead to disease.

Links to Ayurveda:

Ayurverdic Spa Treatments

Ayurdedic Medicine

Dosha Quiz

Dr. Oz

Medicine Across Cultures:  History and Practice of Medicine in Non-Western … By Helaine Selin, Hugh Shapiro

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Ayurvedic Massage

Beauty Pure and Simple: The Ayurvedic Approach to Beautiful Skin by Kristen Ma


While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.
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