A favourite on social media, the gua sha is a traditional Chinese medicine tool made out of semi precious stones such as rose quartz, jade, and crystalline, used for facial massage. Used by applying medium pressure and ‘scraping’ the skin on your face in specific patterns, you may have come across videos claiming that gua shas can completely transform your facial structure. There’s no evidence to support this, but a massage can be incredibly soothing, particularly if you hold tension in your jaw.
Acupressure mats come with hundreds of small plastic points, and lying on them is supposed to replicate acupressure massage, which is thought to release blocked energy in the body – with many also using acupressure massage to target back pain. While it’s an area that needs more research, there are some studies that do link acupressure with a reduction in pain, and so the mats could be worth a try – though bear in mind that they do not account for your unique anatomy the same way that massages by a professional do.
Aromatherapy is a holistic technique that uses plant extracts in essential oils to promote wellbeing. The scents of these aromatic oils are thought to support everything from anxiety to fatigue and low mood. Aromatherapy diffusers heat up the oils, filling a space with the smells. There is a huge range of options available, from tea light diffusers up to expensive high-end electronic models, so if you’re new to aromatherapy it might be worth starting with something simple before you invest.
Reflexology is an alternative therapy that uses the application of pressure to specific points in the feet and hands to benefit overall wellbeing. Reflexology foot sliders are based on this practice, with points of varying sizes covering the shoe – creating a massaging effect as you walk. As with the acupressure mat, it is worth bearing in mind that this is no true replication of a reflexology massage, but the sensation may be pleasant for aching feet.
Using the same aromatherapy principles as the diffusers, essential oil rollers contain blends that are safe for use on the skin, which means you can apply them directly to pulse points on your body. You may choose a different blend depending on your wellness goal, and this handy tool means you can discreetly apply it throughout the day when needed. Scientific research into whether these oils actually work for mood-boosting is mixed – so play around with different scents yourself to see what works for you.
Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is used to manage moods with a series of taps across the body. A bamboo body tapper tool is used to lightly tap these same spots. While you can achieve the same results with just your fingers, if you want to experiment with different sensations and pressures, a bamboo body tapper is an interesting option.
Dating back to seventh-century China, jade rollers are used to massage the face and neck. The cool, smooth surface is thought to boost circulation and help drain the lymphatic system. Additionally, the jade stone is thought to reduce anxiety and fatigue. It’s worth keeping in mind that this is a holistic tool, but on a surface level, adding a bit of face oil under this soothing roller is a recipe for a relaxing facial massage.
To find out more about complementary therapies, and to connect with a professional practitioner, visit therapy-directory.org.uk
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