“Guasha” (刮痧) translates as “scraping petechiae.” Gua (刮) is scraping, the act of pulling a guasha tool across the skin. Sha (痧) is petechiae: pinkness or redness on the skin that can arise from scraping, a result of increased blood circulation to the area. Guasha is one of the many tools in our East Asian medicine toolkit, which also includes acupuncture, herbs, massage, moxibustion, energy work, lifestyle medicine, and more.
Benefits of Guasha
By drawing a guasha tool, or guasha ban (刮痧板), across the skin with varying degrees of pressure, we can elicit different effects on the body. Guasha can be used for facilitating tissue repair in musculoskeletal injuries, breaking up scar tissue, lymphatic drainage, and more. Traditionally, guasha has also been used in the early stages of a cold for “releasing the exterior.” In this article, I will focus on gentle facial guasha.
I often recommend facial guasha as an evening ritual, particularly in clients experiencing chronic jaw tension that can lead to bruxism, or grinding teeth during sleep. Chronic jaw tension can also lead to headaches, especially temporal (side of head), or occipital (nape of neck) headaches. I also love recommending this facial guasha evening ritual for folks with dry skin and too many thoughts, as a way to simultaneously nourish the skin, cultivate an easy self-care ritual, and relax before bed.
Have you ever had the opportunity to experience guasha? This traditional East Asian practice is sometimes used as a complement to massage, acupuncture, herbalism, moxibustion, energy work, lifestyle medicine, and more. Practitioners draw a guasha ban (刮痧板) (guasha tool) over the skin with varying degrees of pressure to elicit different effects on the body.
Although guasha is used to treat complex bodily issues, one wonderful way to experience this age-old art is a gentle facial guasha. We’re excited that our friend, herbalist, and East Asian Medicine practitioner, Jiling Lin, has a new blog with all the information we need to do facial guasha at home!
A good shaving cream can make all the difference when you want a close, smooth shave. Whether you’re doing some full-body grooming or just cleaning up your beard, the rich texture of this cream feels wonderful as it creates the perfect barrier to safely and softly shave away unwanted hair.
We chose kukui nut oil for its wealth of linoleic and alpha-linolenic fatty acids to nourish your skin and we’ve added rosemary and bergamot mint essential oils for a fresh and clean scent. This shaving cream is also completely customizable—substitute oils and butters of your choice or create a different essential oil blend to make it your own!
A good shaving cream can make all the difference in both the quality and comfort of a shave. It’s no wonder then that this homemade shaving cream recipe has been such a longtime favorite of the Mountain Rose Herbs community. Whether you’re working on your beard, your head, or a full-body cleanup, the rich texture of this cream feels wonderful on the skin as it nourishes, hydrates, and makes a perfect surface to safely and comfortably shave away unwanted hair.
We’ve chosen kukui nut oil for its wealth of linoleic and alpha-linolenic fatty acids and added rosemary and bergamot mint essential oils to give our shaving cream a wonderfully clean scent. But one of the beauties of this recipe is that it is supremely customizable. Feel free to substitute oils and butters (sunflower oil would be a good swap for the kukui nut oil) and create your own essential oil blend to suit your mood.
Summer being what it is—with all the extra sunshine and outdoor fun—our deodorant choices start to matter in a bigger way. Consumers have become increasingly aware of the potential issues that can come with using deodorants with ingredients like propylene glycol, aluminum, and triclosan, and have been turning more and more to natural deodorants. Unfortunately, while over-the-counter natural deodorants are a safer and more earth-friendly option than those loaded with parabens and chemicals, they are still packaged in mostly non-recyclable plastics that millions of Americans throw away every year. Happily, it’s an easy task to make your own natural, herbal, roll-on deodorant.
Just so we’re on the same page, it’s important to know that deodorants aren’t meant to reduce or eliminate sweat. No matter what those old antiperspirant ads used to tell you, sweating is essential for the human body. Its primary task, of course, is to help control body temperature, but sweating also helps moisturize the skin and increase skin hydration. The kind of sweat we produce when exercising or relaxing in a sauna is also evidence that we’re supporting heart health and mental wellbeing. Our bodies need to sweat, so it behooves us to find natural, safe ways to neutralize any resulting underarm odors from this necessary bodily process. That’s where our herbal allies come in!
This simple recipe for a liquid roll-on deodorant is a longtime, tried-and-true Mountain Rose Herbs favorite. It’s effective, wonderfully low-mess, and easily portable so we can take it with us and reapply as needed. Also, it is easy to customize to meet your unique needs and aroma preferences. Need more absorbency? Add a bit of baking soda or organic arrowroot powder. Want to customize the scent? Create your own blend of essential oils!
I know that washing your face with oil may sound a little odd at first, but trust me—this ancient secret is a great way to cleanse and nourish your skin! The reason oil cleansing works is basic chemistry: like-dissolves-like. Using nourishing organic oils to clean your face helps break up the grime that gets caught in your skin’s natural sebum while not harming the microbiome of the skin. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Herbalists love hydrosols for their ease of use and versatility in aromatherapy, body care formulations, therapeutic applications, cosmetics, and more. They add variety and scope to our herbal practices and we appreciate the added safety they give us when working with children, elders, and pets. But what exactly are hydrosols, is one as good as another, and how do you use them? We’re excited to tell you more about these distilled botanical extracts, plus we’ve got good tips on best uses and some suggestions about which ones you might like best.
Hydrosols are high quality, distilled botanical extracts, not to be confused with the “floral waters” you might have seen for sale that are often just water combined with essential oils. Hydrosols are beloved by the herbal community for their ease of use and versatility in aromatherapy, herbal body care formulations, therapeutic applications, cosmetics, and household recipes. They add variety and scope to our herbal practices, and we appreciate the added safety they give us when working with children, elders, and pets. Although they are made using the same distillation process as essential oils, they are more sustainable because distillers get significantly more hydrosol per distillation. But not all hydrosols are created equally. We’re excited to tell you more about these lovely plant waters.
Treat yourself or someone you love to a spa-scented shower experience with easy-to-create “Shower Steamer” tablets. Shower steamers use all-natural salts (typically baking soda) and essential oils. These little aromatherapy pucks can turn your shower into a spa-like experience. It is a simple product made up of just a few household ingredients and your favorite essential oils. The tablets dissolve slowly as you shower to create a lasting aromatherapy experience and the warm steam helps diffuse the scent. You can select scents that will energize, relax, or help with seasonal congestion.
In 2006, esteemed herbalist 7Song (@7Songsevensong ) reluctantly attended a planning meeting for a new clinic in his hometown of Ithaca, New York. He was surprised to learn that there were plans to provide an herbalism practice alongside other alternative therapies and conventional healing modalities–an approach in which our mainstream healthcare system often falls short. Not only was this multi-faceted approach fresh and exciting, but all services would be offered to the community for free. Seventeen years later, the Ithaca Free Clinic is still serving Tompkins County with 100% free integrative medical services.