Self-care is a holistic practice. While a Sunday evening face mask may be the extent of your current rituals (no judgment, we get it!), taking time to attend to each part of your body often provides a deeper sense of internal and external well-being. One way to further develop your self-care practice is through body gua sha. While gua sha is most often associated with the practice of facial rejuvenation in a “wellness” context, this distinction is a modern one as this practice historically extends to the entire body. In fact, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there has been little to no distinction between the two. As the benefits of body gua sha have been recognized for thousands of years, here’s a brief history of the practice and a look at the results you can expect as you incorporate it into your routine.
Acknowledging the roots of gua sha in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Returning to the ancient Chinese roots of gua sha, the practice has always been folk medicine that doesn’t differentiate between facial and body use. In China, it’s a generational remedy for a range of bodily maladies, being used for the removal of excess heat during a fever, as an aid for respiratory illnesses like coughs, and as a tool for the revival of consciousness. As professional practitioners adopt this method today, the traditional intention — rooted in folk medicine passed through familial wisdom — remains the strong foundation behind the gua sha practice.
Traditional gua sha practice draws no lines between body and face, but we make this distinction to articulate the different rituals of the Aura Collection, designed for your body, and the Empress Collection, designed for the face. Both systems integrate products and tools that have been designed to optimize for specific results, ones that help with modem ails like tech neck, stagnant muscles, immune issues, and more.
Read more: The differences between body gua sha and facial gua sha, explained.
Another element of our Aura Collection that diverges from Traditional Chinese Medicine is the addition of dry brushing. Dry brushing has been used in several cultures for thousands of years. While perhaps unconventional, we’ve found many benefits from using these two methods in tandem. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the science behind our method.
Does gua sha help with cellulite?
Yes, one of the main effects (note, we didn't say "benefits"!) of body gua sha our customers report is indeed a reduction in cellulite. We want to be clear that we celebrate all body types, and our product isn’t formulated just for this! It’s a much more holistic approach. Cellulite is often a by-product of dysfunctional fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that encases muscles, nerves, veins, organs — pretty much every body system is linked by a continuous casing of this tissue. When the fascia becomes stagnant from overwork, injury, sitting for prolonged periods of time, dehydration, chronic illness, and more, it can cause these dimples in our skin. Working through the fascia on a regular basis using the rituals within Aura Collection can help restore fascial health, and will probably help your body feel more nourished and energized in general.
Read more: Is bruising during gua sha normal? (Turns out, it depends!)
What are the benefits of full body gua sha?
Full body gua sha can help increase circulation, hydrate fascia, drain lymph, loosen muscle knots, release tightness, and more. Come with us for the deep dive:
- Gua sha helps restore and smooth the facia.
Over time, yes — this will lessen the appearance of dimpled skin (cellulite). Since fascia lays atop and connects all your muscles, releasing tension in the fascia helps redistribute any fat under your skin, creating a more even visual appearance.
- Gua sha helps improve circulation and drain your lymphatic system.
A regular gua sha practice can help redistribute fluid with regard to the fascia. Let us get a little nerdy for a minute: Fascia is thought to be a cleansing mechanism for plasma and other fluids. Researchers suspect it pours the excess waste into the lymphatic system, and then delivers fresh plasma and other fluids back into cells through osmosis. In other words, when your fascia is efficiently and regularly stimulated, your lymphatic system may work more effectively. It never ceases to blow our minds.
Read more: Gua sha protocols for breast health!
- Gua sha helps relieve muscle tension by releasing knots in muscle fibers.
When you have adhesions in your fascia, your muscles become tense and contract, and loosening fascia through gua sha practice helps relieve this tension.
- Gua sha helps improve the immune system by supporting your microbiome.
This is important because these systems influence your digestion and hormones. Remember how fascia is suspected to be a cleansing agent? Turns out that if it is knotted and tight, it is possible for toxins to get stuck in the fascia. Since your microbiome plays a role in dictating how well your body absorbs nutrients, maintaining fascial health can aid and contribute to the health of your microbiome, which can have positive repercussions throughout your entire body.
- Gua sha can help release muscle pain and tension.
For example, it is hugely helpful in relieving a pain we are all too familiar with — tech neck. One of the root causes of pain can be tension that’s actually residing in the myofascial tissue. It’s not uncommon for this pain to arise in the form of a headache or upper back tension from sitting in front of a computer or phone with poor posture for extended periods of time. Gua sha can help to relieve this tension.
What is the Aura Collection by Wildling?
The Aura Collection was designed to enhance your at-home wellness practice with full body gua sha. Using these tools and products, you can open up the flow of your chi — the ancient Chinese idea of the internal vital life force within all beings — clearing stagnation in your tissues and invigorate your muscles, an effect similar to that of massage. The components of this synergistic four-part collection are a part of a holistic ritual. Here’s our recommended protocol:
Start with dry brushing. Our Aura Sweeper is a body brushing tool made from Tunisian olive wood and agave plant fiber bristles that helps stimulate lymph flow, boost circulation, and exfoliate your skin. A regular brushing ritual also helps reduce the appearance of dimpled skin (cellulite) by increasing blood flow. Finish with a shower, if that’s available — if not, skip to the next step!
Next, apply the Aura Activator. It’s a body serum with hydrating, revitalizing, and toning properties. Naturally essential-oil free, this blend is formulated to soothe, rebuild, and hydrate your body’s skin after dry brushing.
It’s essential to apply oil before doing any kind of gua sha to the body. This blend was specifically designed to use during body gua sha practice, it helps to increase circulation, encourage the healing of scar tissue, and add slip for your stone. Made from wild rose pepper, organic helichrysum, and wild mastic, it helps to restore the skin's youthful appearance and natural repair processes.
Designed to tighten, sculpt, and tone skin, stimulate energy flow, and smooth connective tissue in dimpled areas by breaking up tension in the fascia. The stone itself is composed of Bian stone, an amalgam of 40+ minerals known for their healing properties.
As an important last note, avoid using gua sha over the surface of an implant of any kind or an open wound, or if you are taking blood thinners. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, consult your doctor, and in general, always consult your doctor before starting any new wellness routines or rituals, especially if you have medical conditions.