is the latest menu addition at Primal Therapeutics in Longmont, Colorado. It is also a topic of education in our classes throughout 2022 at the International Esthetics Cosmetics and Spa Conference is starting to trend, and we could not be more excited.
So what is Gua Sha and why are we making it cannabis infused?
Easily defined, Gua is to scrape and Sha means redness. The modality is an ancient methodology dating back to the Paleolithic Age. When people fell sick or became unconscious, hands or stones were used to rub parts of their body to help alleviate the symptoms of disease. According to Chinese history, Gua Sha has been part of medical documents since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644.) Other terms for Gua Sha include coining and scraping.
Gua Sha works by releasing and breaking up scar tissue and adhesions which can cause dysfunctional areas of muscle and other tissue. The Sha portion creates a raised, reddish millet-like petechiae. Sha is the term used to describe blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue as petechiae. When performing Gua Sha to the entire body there is a systemic response. Modern day TikTok-ers and bloggers focus their Gua Sha sessions to the face but full body treatments can be incredibly healing and beneficial.
Various tools are used for Gua Sha
If the Gua Sha is being performed in a mobile setting the way Primal Therapeutics offers it, they work with various rose quartz, amethyst, and jade implements. The tools used will vary by practitioner and business.
Bian – over 30 minerals
Jar lids (clean and sterile)
Spoons (clean and sterile)
There are also different shapes for the tools that can be used for Gua Sha. Each shape can be used on a different area of the face or body. Different shaped faces and bodies may call you to use different tools.
Shapes of tools include:
Wing shaped tool
Spoon shaped and more
The benefits of Gua Sha include
Visibly smooths thin lines and wrinkles
Firms the look of sagging skin
Stimulates and detoxifies
Results in a brighter complexion and glow
Encourage lymph drainage to banish bloating
Break up fascia
Grounding and centering
Natural face lift
When Hemp or CBD is applied topically, it isn’t absorbed into the bloodstream like it is when it is consumed or placed under the tongue. Instead, it acts on the cannabinoid receptors in the skin. Products are now hitting the market that are said to be transdermal. These products may in fact enter the bloodstream. Use caution with transdermal CBD products, especially if your clientele are prone to drug tests.
Cannabinoid receptors are part of your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS influences the body in different ways, with one of the most notable being helping maintain homeostasis or balance.
What Cannabis Skincare Can Do
Balance the skin’s oil production –Sebocytes, the glands in the skin that produce oil, can overproduce oil and cause pores to become clogged with bacteria. This results in breakouts.
Inflammation of pores and hair follicles can also cause acne, and reducing inflammation can help individuals better manage their breakouts. Studies mention observed anti-inflammatory effects on human skin cells and sebocytes cultured in a lab. While that’s not quite the same as observing those effects on an actual person, it’s an encouraging first step for this still-nascent field of research. I can tell you first hand it has been effective in 100% of the cases we have seen.
Manage chronic skin conditions
People who suffer from chronic skin conditions, like psoriasis or eczema, know that the symptoms of these conditions can be very uncomfortable. Products that help manage itchiness or irritation can greatly improve their quality of life.
Antioxidants may reduce signs of aging
While so much of the research about Cannabidiol is fairly new, one 1998 study established something about this hemp-derived product early on — its antioxidant content makes it a potent weapon against free radicals, which contribute to wrinkles and other signs of aging. Not only that, but the unchecked proliferation of free radicals has also been linked with the development of more serious conditions like skin cancer.
Possible slowing of skin cell production
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition caused by the overproduction of skin cells. This results in scales and dry patches on the skin caused by skin cell buildup. Individuals dealing with psoriasis experience both itching and painful irritation.
Science based evidence
One of the best parts about this information is that it is founded and based in science. There are so many studies that have now been done and more that are being published all the time. I am currently working on two case studies for cannabis massage and the use of infused topicals. Research is how we will continue to make progress in the hemp skincare world.
I encourage you to utilize PubMed. “PubMed® comprises more than 32 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.” This will provide you with the largest database for studies. You can also try Google Scholar.
- In 2014, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation noted that the topical application of cannabidiol helped balance oil production. This means that it could help prevent breakouts from happening in the first place, or at least reign in their severity when they do happen.
- In 2019, a small study in the journal La Clinica Terapeutica observed the results of topical application of CBD in participants diagnosed with psoriasis, dermatitis, or scars. The researchers found that CBD helped reduce the severity and visibility of these inflammatory skin conditions.
- The National Psoriasis Foundation endorses CBD as an alternative treatment in addition to other, more conventional options. They cite research from 2007 that found the topical application of cannabidiol to slow down skin cell production.
- In 2017, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study that showed CBD had promising potential in management of itchiness and skin irritation. While that’s not the same as an ironclad endorsement of CBD’s skin-soothing powers, it does mean that people with a chronic, itchy skin condition might find a topical cream or ointment with CBD to be a useful addition to their medicine cabinet.
Putting It All Together
Cannabis is a powerful antioxidant. Gua Sha gives the glow. Put them together and magic happens. Feel the difference plant medicine can make for you. Now that you understand what Gua Sha is and what it can do, and you have a better understanding of what cannabis has the potential to do for you topically, you are ready for your first Gua Sha treatment. Go forth and enjoy!
SELF CARE NOTE
If you decide you want to experience Gua Sha in the comfort of your home, it is important to know how to properly care for your tools. Like any beauty tool, you will want to clean your Gua Sha tools regularly. You can use soap and water to get the job done, or a quick spritz of alcohol. Just be forewarned that these do get slippery when wet, and they are very fragile. I suggest laying your tools out on a towel when washing, so as to avoid slippage and breakage.