To get the low down on gua sha, the increasingly popular beauty, health and wellness practice that hails from traditional East Asian medicine, I naturally (okay, lazily) turned to the Internet—specifically, GuaSha.com—because, where else? There, Arya Nielsen, Ph.D., defined gua sha as an “instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechiae called ‘sha’ representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis.” Even more confused, I then read an article Kary Hess wrote for the Bohemian’s sibling magazine, Explore, in which local acupuncturist and clinical eastern herbalist, Erin Wilkins, L.Ac., of Petaluma’s Herb Folk, explained, “Gua sha has been used as a folk remedy for thousands of years. Not only for facial and beauty treatments, it’s also effective to break down scar tissue, address inflammation and reduce morning sickness.” Got it. Wilkins adds that gua sha can increase circulation of blood, lymph and Qi energy and is achieved by going over the surface of the skin with a specially shaped stone. Jade is a naturally warming stone and ideal for massaging oils into the skin, whereas, say, rose quartz stays cooler. The snark-meister in me thinks there are easier ways to get “stoned,” but those who have undergone the treatment have a more, um, Mandalorian take: “This is the way.” herbfolkshop.com—DH
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