Facial Gua Sha was first mentioned in the Chinese Medical Text Shan Han Lun 220BC. Originally it was used as a body treatment. In some areas, it was quite literally seen as the ‘people’s medicine’. Gua Sha was handed down through the generations and as with most things, it is much better to learn by doing and have someone correct you, than learn from the pages of a book. Gua Shanow has been adapted to use in facial therapies. Facial Gua Sha is used across the Far East, in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan to mention a few.
Facial Gua ShaFusion is a facial rejuvenation therapy based on the traditions of Traditional Far East Medicine combining Facial Gua Sha with Manual Lymphatic Drainage for maintaining youth and vitality.
Both are supported by the importance of connective tissue manipulation. Facial GuashaFusion combines a unique blend of facial massage modalities that clear noxious accumulation, release deep-seeded tension and promote the free flow of vital nutrients to feed the skin and repattern the way it ages. Cecily Braden has been a leading educator in Facial Guasha Fusion and she has developed a Gua Sha Fusion Training Program for Professionals, which I can highly recommend.
In Traditional East Asian Medicine, the main organ associated with the Earth Element is the Spleen. The Spleen (Yin) together with its sister, the Stomach (Yang) is sitting in the Middle Burner, which is the area between the navel and just below the breasts. Imagine the Middle Burner being a big cauldron set over a fire, containing food. When the fire is strong (kidney energy), digestion is good, however when the fire (kidney energy) is weak, the digestion process in the cauldron is very slow. Kidney energy is declining as we age, a natural process, and this will in turn affect our digestion too.
According to Traditional East Asian Medicine the Spleen is also responsible for blood production. We see an increase of people suffering from anemia, which often cannot be remedied by iron supplementation. As long as the Spleen-energy is weak, minerals and vitamins cannot be sufficiently absorbed. This confirms that the ancient teaching remains relevant in today’s practice, especially in light of the recent research on the relationship between gut, health and immunity.
Another important function of the Spleen is the regulation of blood. The Spleen ‘holds’ blood in the vessels. When the energy of the Spleen is weak, people tend to bleed easily, which can result in nosebleeds, petechiae, excess menstrual bleeding and easy bruising.
In Traditional East Asian Medicine, we have 5 Seasons. Late Summer, which we are slowly moving into, is the season of the Earth Element. The ‘fifth season’ spans from the hazy days following the peak of the summer to the start of the autumn. The Earth element is connected to the harvest which also brings on nourishment.
The summer of 2021 brings many problems for the harvest: We are seeing the extreme heat, the drought and the fires in many parts of southern Europe and Turkey, while in other parts of Europe, it has been seasonally cold and wet and fields are waterlogged by the constant downpours. We must remind ourselves, that everything comes ultimately from the Earth. We are fed and nourished by the Earth in a complete and unconditional way.
A complaint that I often hear at this time of the year. A deep pressure point from the strappy sandal shows up on the ankle, your legs are heavy and sometimes even painful and you feel sluggish.
What is happening in our body, especially in summer? When exposed to heat, the body optimizes the release of heat through the skin by dilating the outer vessels in order to regulate the core temperature. There is a redistribution of blood to these areas and thus an increase in volume here.
After a rather cool and wet May here in Switzerland, Summer seems to have finally arrived with a bang. The temperature has risen, flowers are in full bloom and the days are longer.
Transitioning to Summer according to Traditional East Asian Medicine in terms of yin and yang is known as the full expression of yang, hot, bright and an active nature. The summer solstice is nearly upon us. But It’s not just nature that responds to the change of season, our bodies do as well, they are deeply connected to nature. According to the Five elements, the organ that benefits from this extra energy is our heart. A healthy heart needs regular exercise to keep the circulatory system in good condition. Try to build up a sweat, which helps to clean toxins from your body. Swimming in a lake, river or sea is another popular summer activity that can be very beneficial, as it allows us to move within the cool of the water which is known to be yin. This can assist in balancing the hot energy that is upon us with the arrival of summer. Watch out for burn from excess and avoid outdoor activities during the hot midday sun.
Sleep in traditional East Asian medicine is part of the natural rhythm between Yin and Yang.
Yang Energy is dominant during the day, when we are awake and active, and yin energy rules sleep. Yin energy is cooling, quiet and helps slow down the body’s activity in preparation for a good night’s sleep. When this natural rhythm is disrupted, yin and yang become imbalanced, which results in insomnia.
The Traditional East Asian 24-hour Body Clock helps us to understand the various organ’s function and their active times of the day. During the course of the day each organ has its own 2-hour slot. During sleep, our energy works inwardly and helps to fully restoring the body. It is recommended, to sleep before 23.00, as between 23.00 – 01.00 bile is released from the Gallbladder. The Liver’s important time slot is 01.00 to 03.00, by which time we should be in a deep sleep phase. This is the optimal time for our liver to nourish and clean the blood. If we often sleep at odd hours, the blood is not able to flow back to the liver for detox, and therefore, fresh and clean blood is not produced. According to Traditional East Asian Medicine without the replenishment of our qi (energy) and blood, the organs will fall out of balance causing a range of sleeping complaints and over time wider health problems, as well as affecting our emotions.
The eyes are the sensory organ related to the Liver meridian in Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) and the visual ability mainly relies on the nourishment of the liver blood. According to TEAM, liver blood deficiency (anemia) can cause problems such as blurry vision, red or dry eyes, itchy eyes, it may be deep down, that your Liver is not functioning smoothly. Burning and bloodshot eyes are related to heat (an overload) in the Liver, mostly due to alcoholism. This method of detection has long been used in TEAM, but now these early indicators are being widely used in Western Medicine too. According to Western Medicine the Liver is responsible to cleanse and filter the bloodstream. All toxic substances that enter our bodies end up in the Liver. Toxins can really take a toll on our liver and this includes alcohol consumption, excess caffeine, smoking, high sugar foods, fatty foods and a lack of healthy fruits and vegetables. Hydrate your body – hydrate your eyes. Water helps to flush out impurities out of our bodies.
The season of Spring is still with us in the Northern Hemisphere. Associated with Spring within the 5 Elements is the Liver being the Yin Organ and the Gallbladder the paired yang organ. They are closely related and it is often difficult to separate their functions and disharmonies. The Liver is known as the General and the Gallbladder being its chief- advisor implements the Liver’s plan and responsible for its execution.
The Gallbladder meridian in action The gallbladder provides ‘qi’ to the tendons and sinews to ensure their correct movement, flexibility and control. Imagine yourself wearing a green military uniform and marching briskly across a drill ground. The gallbladder meridian start from the outer canthus of the eye and runs from the side of the head down, across your shoulders like the epaulettes on a uniform and then down the outside of your body and along the outside of your legs like the stripes on your uniform pants. You exercise simultaneously the liver meridian.
According to Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM), the Liver organ is often referred to as the Military Leader in its character, responsible for storing blood and regulation of essential substances among others.
The liver’s primary functions include the storage and filtration of blood, is being the Yin aspect. The liver is also responsible for the smooth flow and distribution of blood throughout the body this is also an active process. The female body depends heavily on the supply and circulation of blood in circumstances such as menstruation, pregnancy and labor throughout their cycle of life. The liver ensures, that blood is directed to the uterus and the ovaries to support these physiological activities. According to TEAM, the Liver’s energetic system ensures a proper volume of menstrual blood and facilitates its ease of the flow at the time of bleeding. Many gynaecological problems are due to liver blood disturbances. If the liver stores blood normally, menstruation will be normal. If liver blood is deficient there will be amenorrhea, (absence of a menstrual cycle). If the blood of the liver is in excess or hot there may be menorrhagia (heavy or long menstrual cycle).
Problems arise, when Qi – the flow of life – is obstructed by a blockage or stagnation. A blockage can arise from obstruction or resistance to change in any of the 5 elements. Since we are in Spring let’s look more closely at the Wood Element and its related organs the Liver and Gallbladder. We all know, emotional states that are repressed can also have a pathogenic effect on mind and body. A good example is the disharmonies in the wood-element, which are very common today, with the associated emotion of anger, which is not actively lived, or the inherent emotional state of enthusiasm.
Many complaints with pain symptoms and tension states, as well as headaches, tinnitus and high blood pressure can be the direct result of a repressed wood energy which is not actively lived and needs to strive strongly outwards. A big health problem here is also the lack of authenticity, which is unfortunately quite recognized in our culture. We often say a well-intentioned ‘yes’, where with the power of the wood element a ‘no’ would have been more appropriate, in order to let live flow on unhindered in a new direction. Anger, uninhibited enthusiasm and new beginnings, all emotions of the wood element are not fully accepted and therefore have little room to be expressed harmoniously in our society. The suppression of the wood element in an individual person or in a society is not really possible and the individual person is then under strong pressure and our society therefore becomes a powder keg. The present situation with the Pandemic shows this quite clearly. If we imagine this figuratively like the germ of a young tree that wants to come to light at all costs and pushes with all its strength through asphalt on a direct path – and if this is not possible will just find another way.