If you haven't been living under a rock for the last few years, you’re likely already familiar with the multitude of benefits that can come from using gua sha on the face. The ancient practice is used to de-puff as well as plump and firm, defining the face and making the skin glow. The same practice, which works by stimulating the cells and firing up circulation, can have serious benefits for the health of the hair and scalp, as well as your complexion and cheekbones.
Aéde’s latest innovation is the Harmonise Gua Sha Tool. Hand-carved from nephrite jade for its superior strength and healing properties, this thoughtfully designed tool is equipped with both smooth and pointed edges (read: all you need for promoting microcirculation and encouraging muscle release on the scalp as well as the face). Its creation is based on the principles of acupuncture, so we tapped registered Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner Dr Liz Magnussen from the multidisciplinary healing hub Novoa Health on Sydney’s Northern Beaches to explain how it works.
Dr Magnussen devised the ultimate scalp stimulation routine to perform with Harmonise, watch it here, but we also asked this learned expert exactly how and why scalp gua sha works.
“Gua sha literally means scraping the skin. The practice has been used for generations for a variety of health benefits. It works by increasing microcirculation by bringing the blood flow to the area, removing any waste products of cellular breakdown, so the environment is cleaner and healthier - it’s like weeding the garden of your body,” explains Magnussen.
Aéde’s Harmonise protocol, as curated by Dr Magnussen, is designed to help you commit to regular scalp and face gua sha. While each move has been carefully planned to encourage healthy hair growth, the practitioner says there is no one way to gua sha.
Dr Magnussen says if you really want to reap the benefits that gua sha can provide, your PB technique will be the one you enjoy performing the most: “We can provide the principles for a successful treatment, but really there are no set of rules. It’s also a lot about what feels good to you,” Magnussen says.
A stimulated scalp capable of healthy function is the goal of regular gua sha all over the head. “Anything that increases the circulation will not only put the good energy in but promote the removal of any waste products of metabolism, which can get in the way of healing. TCM is really about not forcing or imposing anything - we’re trying to work with what the body already does and ensure it can do it in the best way,” she adds.
In addition to performing acupuncture for patients experiencing a whole host of different conditions, Dr Magnussen is a mindfulness coach. She is highly experienced in the benefits of a calm mind on the body, so highlights the benefits of gua sha which go beyond the physical. “It's profoundly relaxing, and that's important because relaxation lowers cortisol, balancing our autonomic nervous system and putting our body into a healing state. So, it might sound like simple massage superficially, but the work it’s doing is very deep. Sometimes, when we've gotten to a point of anxiety or stress, that can inhibit hair growth. So when we use gua sha to put our body back into that rest and relax state, our hair can grow optimally too,” she says.
When healthier, thicker hair and an improved complexion are on the line, how often do you need to reach for your Harmonise tool? “The more you do it, the better the benefit, but the frequency that I recommend is really just the one that you will actually do. People often ask me, in Chinese medicine, what's the best diet to have or what's the best exercise to do? And it's always the same answer. The best diet or exercise is the one that you will do. If you enjoy it, you’re more likely to commit to it consistently,” says Dr Magnussen.