Last week I wrote about strigils, an ancient bath tool used to exfoliate the skin. Roman bathers would rub their skin with oil and then scrape it off with a strigil.
I suspect this instrument is more effective than the loofahs we use today, but I haven’t been able to find a strigil retailer to test one out. But thanks to a super cellulite sleuth, we might have found a suitable alternative.
In response to my strigil solicitation, herama (an expert cellulite investigator herself) referred me to an ancient Eastern practice called Gua Sha. In Chinese, Gua Sha means to “to scrape away disease.”
In Gua Sha, the skin is covered in oil and then scraped with a smooth-edged instrument. Anything from a ceramic soup spoon to a honed animal horn to a piece of polished jade will do the trick. Firm pressure is applied along the acupuncture meridians, often causing the skin to erupt in small red bumps called sha.
Skin-scraping isn’t unique to China. In the Vietnamese version called Cao Gio (scrape wind), a coin is rubbed across the shoulders, neck, and back. In Indonesia, a similar practice is called Kerokan.
The red marks that result from such skin-scraping practices are off-putting, to say the least. Vietnamese children who undergo Gua Sha are sometimes suspected of physical abuse by people who aren’t familiar with the practice (there’s even a movie about that). Some accounts I’ve read say it is extremely painful while other say it’s not painful at all. I suppose it depends on who is doing the scraping.
In any case, do you think a Gua Sha scraper is worth checking out for our investigation? Perhaps something like this jade scraper from China Book House?
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