If you’re scouring the Internet for the best material for Gua Sha tools, then you’ve most likely already discovered this amazing traditional Oriental healing technique that’s been passed down from generation to generation in China and other Asian countries.
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Check out our list below to see the best materials to consider:
#1 – Bian Stone
Bian stones are considered to be the best tools for gua sha because they have the most ultrasonic pulses and the best range of frequency.
The use of Bian stones for healing is centuries-old. In the “Nei Jing”, an ancient Chinese Medical book, it lists “acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine, Qigong, and Bian stone therapy” as the five major medical practices of the “Yellow Emperor”, a deity in Chinese religion. What’s amazing is that Bian stone therapy predates acupuncture.
If you want to do Gua Sha the authentic way, use Bian stones.
#2 – Jade
Jade is our second best pick for gua sha instruments. It is said to have qi energy that is very similar to the qi energy of the human body. As such, it is ideal for healing treatments.
In the olden times, barefoot doctors in China could not afford traditional gua sha tools so they got scraps from jade carvers and used them as gua sha tools. Today, jade is still widely used for this healing technique.
Jade is yin and yang. It is a cool stone but warms to the touch.
#3 – Buffalo Horn
Genuine Bian stones come from the village of Sibin in China. If you are unable to find Bian stones to use, Buffalo horn is another good option.
In Chinese medicine, a buffalo horn has a cold property and an acrid/salty flavor. The acridity improves qi and blood circulation, nourishes, and moistens. The saltiness, on the other hand, relaxes stiffness and softens hardness. Lastly, the coldness dispels heat and gets rid of toxins in the body.
While American buffalo are off the endangered list, if you worry about where buffalo horns come from get jade, stone, or steel instead.
#4 – Stainless Steel
Medical-grade stainless steel tools are a popular choice for IASTM. This stands for Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization and is simply a modern evolution of Gua Sha. (Gua Sha with a more clinical name?)
If you want more modern materials, you can consider Stainless steel or even Titanium implements.
#5 – Rose Quartz
Rose quartz is said to open the heart chakra and reduce tension in the heart. It is a beautiful stone which comes in a delicate pink color.
As a Gua Sha tool, it is smooth and a good weight. Others though find it hard to grip and prefer the buffalo horn or bian stone.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua means “to scrape” in the Chinese language while Sha means “a reddish skin rash”. In Gua Sha, painful spots in the body are identified via acupressure or acupuncture points. Then, special Gua Sha instruments are used to scrape the skin in strokes.
The sha springs up and although it looks scary and painful to an unknowing onlooker, it is actually painless and will fade in 2-3 days. More importantly, the sha rash releases stagnating blood and lymph thus promoting circulation and accelerated healing.
What to look for in Gua Sha tools
Gua Sha tools are made from different types of materials.
Here’s what you look for in choosing the type of material for your Gua Sha tools.
Resonation / Ultrasonic Pulses
Ultrasonic pulses are produced from friction between the body and any kind of material, which is, in this case, our Gua Sha tool. The number of ultrasonic pulses and their frequencies varies depending on the type of material used. The higher the value, the better the resonation with the body. Higher ultrasonic pulses aid in better healing and disintegration of scar tissue.
Here is an example of a few tools and their corresponding pulses and frequencies.
A bian stone has the highest numbers with 3,670 pulses at 20-2000 kilohertz. Jade is next with 1,834 pulses at 20-1000 kilohertz. Of the three, a buffalo horn comes last with 353 pulses and 20-100 kilohertz.
You need to apply pressure when doing the necessary scraping.
Some prefer to use a heavier weighted tool because you’ll need to apply less pressure when scraping (as is the case with stone tools versus plastic ones).
Others prefer a medium-weighted tool because they find it easier to move across the body.
Once you get into Gua Sha, we reckon you’ll be doing it for a long time as it helps with everything from stress to hair loss to wrinkles. (Just about anything you can think of!)
As such, you’d want to think about getting a good implement that will last. Not all tools are created equal due to their material and some are more fragile than others.
Considering all of the above factors, what should you invest in, or at the least, try out?
Any object — like a coin, a spoon, or a lid — can be used for Gua Sha. Getting the best implement though makes the whole experience more comfortable and in a way, more memorable as you work with tools that become special to you.
By doing this ancient form of healing, you’ll be managing your stress and diseases in more natural ways instead of relying on pharmaceuticals or more vices that only bring temporary relief.
Eat well, sleep well, and learn to listen to your body. Experiment with Gua Sha in treating your different ailments.
Author: Mary Lou
In the Before Times, Maru spent vacations traveling and making stops at showrooms to test the latest massage chair models. Nowadays, she’s hunkered down in her small sunlit home dotted with her ever-growing collection of fiddle fig trees, indoor plants, and Himalayan salt lamps. Find her at LinkedIn.