Decrease puffiness, increase circulation and lymphatic drainage with Gua Sha with Gianna De La
This week on the Less Stressed Life Podcast, I talked to Gianna De La Torre of Wildling Beauty about the ritual of Gua Sha. This ancient practice predates acupuncture and is a traditional piece of Chinese medicine. Gianna discusses the many ways in which Gua Sha can facilitate better health and specifically dives into the beauty benefits so many are after. This age-old practice can be intertwined into our everyday routines for impressive results and feelings of wellbeing.
• What is Gua sha?
• How does Gua Sha work for beauty?
• Importance of intention, removing lymphatic build-up, increasing blood flow and chi
• How does Gua Sha help with signs of aging and tension?
• How does someone get started with Gua Sha?
• Important technique tips on using the Gua Sha tool
• How often to use Gua Sha?
Gianna De La Torre is an acupuncturist, intuitive healer, and co-founder of Wildling, a self-loving beauty collective embracing the ritual of Gua Sha. She found her passion for alternative medicine in India where she was mentored by an Ayurvedic doctor and then went on to explore acupuncture and herbal medicine. Embracing intuitive healing practices has helped her through the darkest moments of her own journey and now she has the mission to pay it forward and to help other people also heal. “For as long as I can remember, I have had an insatiable curiosity about human health. I want to know all the tricks that genuinely make people feel better. My understanding of the body began in childhood — I’m the daughter of a gastroenterologist and the granddaughter of an osteopath. I had no shortage of stethoscopes."
Later on, I found my passion for alternative medicine in India where I was mentored by an Ayurvedic doctor. I obtained a master’s degree in acupuncture and herbology because it resonates with my energetic understanding of the body. My degrees are not my most prized credentials. I award more merit to my willingness to step outside of the box in my personal and professional healing work.
My Intuitive Acupuncture practice was born because I wanted to combine modalities that were extremely effective in my own healing journey. I lost a partner in a car accident many years ago, and I was devastated. I cried every day for six months. In my darkest moments, these healing practices gave my grief a purpose and they changed my life. For the next ten years, I embarked on a journey studying alternative healing methods that brought me back to life. Now it’s my turn to pay it forward. My mission is to help people heal.”
• Wildling 21-day Gua Sha Challenge
• Wildling Beauty Website
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Always with Guha, you're improving the flow of Chi and blood achieving like life force energy. And so you're increasing the overall vitality and wellness of the skin.
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That's christabiegler.com/Gut guide or schedule and introductory case [email protected] Before we recorded this episode, I was curious about Guha afterwards. I jumped in, I got the tools I started doing it and oh my gosh, it quickly rose to one of the top things that I love for lymphatic drainage support. I mean, I think it knocks the socks off of dry brushing. It is so much more like comfortable and enjoyable, and you can kind of change the puffiness in your face, which is some lymphatic issue. So I love it and wholeheartedly wanna recommend it. Even before you get into the episode, you're gonna love it. If you want wildling.com, Gianna, who I interviewed today, she is the one of the founders of wildling. They do have beautiful tools. They do have beautiful stuff. They do have beautiful education on their YouTube. And if you're interested in one of their tools, we have a code for you, a discount code, and that is less stressed. So I hope you enjoy the show. So today on the less stress life we have Gianna de Laur. She's an acupuncturist, intuitive healer and co-founder of wildling as self loving beauty collective embracing the ritual of Guha. She found her passion for alternative medicine in India, where she was mentored by an Ayurvedic doctor, and then went on to explore acupuncture and herbal medicine, embracing intuitive healing practices has helped her through the darkest moments of her own journey. And now she has a mission to pay it forward and help other people also heal. Welcome Gianna.
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
So I think that your story is pretty remarkable. Your parents are both providers or maybe it was just your, I think your, one of your parents is a gastroenterologist and another is another doctor. So you were around health a lot growing up, but I'd love to hear where kind of you started and what landed you in India.
Yeah, I think that's a perfect question because ending up in India, like really changed the trajectory of the rest. And I think, you know, like for me personally, like my journey to kind of like the alternative arts began in college, when I like just happened upon, I went to the university of Virginia and just happened upon an incredible yoga studio with like a really incredible lineage and a stronger yoga. And that was my gateway. So it was like an incredible place to land after late college nights, like partying or just being like Debs and then like arriving in this class and centering myself and grounding and learning how to like move my body and breathe and all of these things and my passion and like obsession with yoga for like the first many years, like took me to India. And when I was in India studying yoga, I was also very taken by medicine.
And I always thought that I would, you know, go in a medical direction just because I was very passionate about the body and health and wellness. And my skin broke out really badly in India. And I had had that happen before and when I was a teenager and that happened, my dad being a gastroenterologist, sent me to a doctor who just put me on like indefinite antibiotics. And as we know, that's not great for a lot of reasons, but that was his training. And that is like Western medical protocol. And so I walked into this Ave doctor's office after my skin had like erupted in these breakouts and he took one look at me and he said, you're allergic to milk and
I can see it now on people too, like having been a health practitioner for a long time, but I was drinking so much Indian Chi. It was like the pillar of my nutrition when I was in India. And it's of course, like always has dairy. So that was why. And I went off milk and I was like shocked to see how my skin cleared. So there was this very like visceral experience of like, what if we just take one thing away from your diet rather than adding this like really intense thing too, like te recycling. And so that was like my first aha moment that sent me in a direction of alternative healing and ultimately sent me to acupuncture school.
How long were you in India?
I was in India for six months.
Okay. What year was this? That,
That would've been 2003, 2004. Okay.
So this is like the pivotal moment where you see the change in your own health from something somewhat simple, right? Simple in a good way. So you mentioned that you were mentored by an VEIC doctor. So what came next? Did you return to India after that? Did you go home? What happened after this pivotal moment? Because sometimes we have this experience somewhere, but it doesn't really change our life, but in your case, it did. And there were some other, maybe things as well, but what happened after that moment where the doctor said, Hey, if you just change milk, you just stop, eat drinking Chi every day with milk, then your skin may be less erupted. What happened after
That? Yeah. So if anyone's ever practiced a stronger yoga out there, which I trust, there are many, it's something that happens like first thing in the morning from like, you know, six in the morning until eight it's like a two hour practice generally. And then there's not that much else to do for the rest of the day. So it's very much in many like Eastern healing traditions that if you want to learn from someone, you just kind of like show up. So as I hear you say, like mentored by an aggravated doctor, like, what that really meant for me is that I just kind of like showed up and, and that's very like natural in the culture of like past, down arts, you know, whether that's like Chinese medicine or whether it's like, Iveta like, he's like, oh, you wanna, okay, go ahead, sit down.
Like, if you wanna learn about this, like take a seat. And that meant that, you know, initially it was just a lot of watching. And then eventually I was also able to like, feel the pulse of what was going on. It was no sort of like formal training or curriculum, but it was just kind of like being present for the treatment and the diagnosis and in Iveta a lot of it's like very dietary. So just being able to like take in and absorb that information is what happened all on that like same initial trip. So I never returned to India after I went for that time. If you've ever spent six months in India, it's just like, stays with you for life. You'll never be the same. So it was a very transformative experience, but essentially meant that I had a lot of free time after my yoga practice every day to do whatever I wanted. And that was something that I chose to explore.
So you were on the east coast, you went to India now you're on the west coast. What happened when you returned home? How did you get to Washa right? Yeah. That's really, where did that, where did that fit
In? That's the correct? That's perfect. So, yes, I went to California. I'm from New Mexico. So going to school on the east coast was like already like a leap. So I quickly rush back to the west where I feel most comfortable and I go to a yoga teacher training and I'm now on a journey to become a yoga teacher, which I was for 10 years and was through acupuncture school. And I'm sitting next to this really beautiful woman and like just talking to her in this yoga teacher training. And I was asking her what she was studying. And she told me that she was studying traditional Chinese medicine. And I was like, where are you studying that? She's like, there's schools all over. And like, I had like chills run through my entire body. Like, it's like that moment where you get a download and you're like, oh my God, like, I felt like something coursed through my system.
I didn't know that that was an option. And of course, like prod her with like questions after that and was just like so curious. So that was the first moment I realized you could go to school for Chinese medicine cut to like living in the bay area, teaching yoga now aware of like very many schools, like seeing an acupuncturist regularly, just learning about the medicine. And then in 2005, I began going to the Pacific college of Oriental medicine. It was called that at the time, but that name has since changed and rightly so to a different name. So the Pacific college is where I went in San Diego. And so that was when my journey with acupuncture started. And one of the very first things that they empower you with in traditional Chinese medicine school is Guha. So you're immediately in the clinic, especially in California.
If you're going to, to acupuncture school, you do so many clinic hours. And it's like basically from day one. And it's just like when I was with the ibid doctors first, you're just a fly on the wall. You're just observing everything going on. And then the first thing that they gave me to actually help a patient was a Guha tool. And that's because I had done some massage already. Like I knew how to touch people like with direction of a teacher. Like it's a technique, unlike needling, that's like relatively safe to use. Guha has a history of being a technique that's used in the home by elders, like by your parents or grandparents, to help you treat a fever, a cough, like many health conditions that you can treat in the home, maybe even pain. So it's something that you're empowered to help people with.
And I was helping someone who had frozen shoulder and I was doing Washa all over their shoulder and they got up and their range of motion went from like 20% to like 80% in like 10 minutes. And I was just so struck by that and the power of being able to heal someone with Guha and I felt incredibly empowered and it was just like such a simple, profound technique. So my love for Guha be in, you know, in 2005, 2006, when I was first able to use it in the clinic and that would've been for things that had nothing to do with beauty. So Guha even predates acupuncture, and it's used to revive consciousness, it's used to reduce fevers. It's used to strengthen the immune system. It's used for cough. It's used for cold, it's used for pain. And so that's kind of like the lineage that I entered into. Well,
I'm gonna go back to, or like wash up at first. I'm just gonna comment on what your story reminded me of with the person with the frozen shoulder who was 20 to 80% better in 10 minutes. I often think we have therapies in all of our areas. And I will say to people traditional Chinese medicine always seem to have it down first. So whenever we have something that's kind of from that, so modern physical therapy has scraping. And I really don't know that there's a difference between Guha and scraping. That happens in physical therapy. And I was talking to my physical therapist friend about this recently, and I don't wanna make this quote or this statement, but essentially, you know, short term scraping by someone is equivalent to a very long massage, essentially short term. So that's what that, your story reminds me of. I'm trying to find someone to talk about scraping, but I don't think it's very different from Guha. So I wanna go back because if someone can't picture what this looks like, I think maybe let's go to that. Maybe what is Guha predates acupuncture, as you said, it's an original piece of traditional Chinese medicine, but what is it literally and like, what is it in the flesh? And also talk to us about the physiology of what's happening with Guha when you're using that tool as well.
Yeah. I will definitely get into that. And I first just wanna say that, like, I think it's actually unfortunate that there's grace and techniques, or like these therapies that truly truly stem from traditional Chinese medicine, but don't always like give credit in the same way that drying mm-hmm
And for those of you, who've never seen the marks that Guha can leave. If you were to Google it, it's actually quite traumatic, like think like cupping anywhere that you've received Guha. And the interesting thing is that when you're doing it on a body, someone who does not have a lot of stagnation will not necessarily have any marks, they might just have like a little bit of minor pinkness. Someone who has a lot of stagnation or stuckness in the muscles, or, and this would typically be someone who also has a lot of pain or like really needs this therapy. It can get anywhere from red to like a deep, dark purple. And what you're doing is it's like, as you're applying and again, this is not for the face. I just wanna say, like, we never produce red marks on the face. We would never do that.
The technique is so gentle. So I am describing wash out on the body. But if you think about like taking a very firm piece of machinery and like scraping the bottom of a lake, dragging the bottom of a lake, you bring all of this like stuff up to the surface. Right? All of a sudden the lake becomes like very cloudy. All of this silt that has like settled in the, at the bottom is now like stirred up to the surface to come up to the top. It's kind of the same thing in the tissues. As you apply this very firm edge to the skin usually made out of, you know, a stone or, you know, I've even used like a tiger bomb lid or a horn or a spoon. These are some of like the older tools that would've been used for that as you apply this pressure on the skin, always with oil.
So it slips, it pulls all of the stuck blood. That's like stuck in the muscle. That's stuck between like, you know, the connective tissue, like all of that comes up to the surface to clear. And the result is this immediate sensation that like you've had a backpack taken off your back if you're having it done to like your back and shoulders, for example. And so that's how I describe it. And then getting into more of like the science of Washa being studied, like how does it work? It increases micro circulation in the tissues dramatically. And so it goes very much in line with kind of what I described, which is essentially your oxygenating, the tissues by creating movement. So you're encouraging blood flow and thus oxygen flow into areas that may have been like tight restricted or like more closed off. And so you're really just very strongly increasing the flow. And the difference between, you know, something just like massage is this really firm surface and the use of like the oil on the skin and this repeated like very firm surface with like stronger than the hands is going to more forcefully encourage that micro circulation in that flow.
So it reminds me a lot of cupping because that's kind of a spot. Yeah. Right. And there's cups are used pretty prolifically in my household. My husband just loves
Is the, yeah. And so it can, it can actually be like, it's a very similar action to cupping, but this, you know, a little wash out tool can get into areas. Like, let's say that you're like having stuff come up around the elbow. Like you can't really put a cup there. Mm-hmm
Yeah. Perfect. I love that. You said that my next question was, is the tool significant and you brought up a significance that I wouldn't have thought about. I was thinking is the makeup of the tool significant like as a stone or as plastic or as whatever. I mean, what makes a tool, a Guha tool or is it pretty open because it, is it kind of a, a gray area?
Yes. That's a, that's a great question. So a Guha tool will typically be a thin, you know, like if you think about like the spoon
But there's various shapes at wildling. I've designed our ENT tools and we've chosen beyond stone for our waha tool. It's one of the original pillars of Chinese medicine. It was created when a meteor struck a mountain in ancient China, like before civilization. And it has a measurable ultrasound pulsation, a measurable far infrared wave it's associated with increased longevity. And so if you were to ask someone like me who studied stone medicine with like Jeffrey UN like yes, the material that you're using for your Washa tool, a hundred percent matters because every little detail matters and there would be like different stones that you would use for different types of conditions. According to stone medicine, some stones will be cooling. Some stones will be warming. And that being said, maybe like, not all practitioners would abide by that. Like they might just always use the same spoon for doing Guha, at least on the body. So there's, there's kind of a lot of ways to answer that question, but, but that's not,
It, it touches your heart differently than maybe someone else that I would ask when you have more education about a certain you've arrived at a different
I appreciate that you talk about a spoon, but also this. Yeah.
Yeah. And so when I, you know, like I've thought about it so much, because as Guha being the passionate thing that it is for me, and then transitioning to work on more faces with Guha and the results of that, I'm like, I couldn't be more of a Guha tool nerd because I thought so much about how to design our tools for face and for body and put so much like thought and time into the edges and the material and, you know, like the craftsmanship of that. So I'm truly a Washa tool nerd.
So let's actually get into how Guha works for beauty. We've talked about it on the skin oxygenation. It just reminds me of like, myofacial release a little bit as well. Mm-hmm
Right. So another key principle to Chinese medicine is intention. So like anytime you're putting a needle in a place you wanna think about like a point could have like 15 different functions, but you wanna focus your intention on like, what are you using that point for? And I think the same, like when I began doing facial acupuncture and then also using Washa on the face, I was just so taken aback because obviously that client came to me for beauty, like with an intention of looking better, feeling better. And so the gentle technique that I was using is just kind of like moving lymphatic fluid, relaxing facial muscles, always with Gaia, you're improving the flow of Chi and blood achieving like life force energy. And so you're increasing the overall vitality and wellness of the skin. And that being said, the face is also what we call a homonculus, which means that you can treat the entire body with the face.
You can do, you know, you may have heard of like facial reflexology, we've heard of like foot reflexology. You can also treat people with the hands and with the ear. So you are also affecting the entire body, which means that when people would get up off the table, they would just like, look so transformed. Like they felt so much better. They looked better that the actions and facial Guha specifically our threefold, like fundamentally is that you're improving the flow of chin blood. You're relaxing the muscles, which really helps with like habitual facial expressions that contribute to wrinkles. So if there's a chronic tension pattern that you're holding in the face, like the action of Guha will help kind of like reset that and massage the facial muscles to bring them out of the tension pattern. It also smooths the fasha, which is the connective tissue, because the fasha kind of hardens into the position that like the muscles tell it to essentially. So over time we can have like, again, these like habitual expressions that, that contribute to signs of aging based on tension and like holding in the FA and the muscles. So those are the ways that I identify facial Guha as working most remarkably.
I love it. I would like to know how it is related unrelated to Jade rolling, which is another thing that people might have been exposed to if they have heard of Guha potentially, or they, I mean, I feel like it's a thing right now, rollers.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Rollers are like the two dimensional gateway drug potentially to Guha. So a Jade roller would require very little education. You just kind of like put it on your face and roll it around. I've certainly done it and tried it. And so similar actions, how is it different for the Jade roller? You don't have that like, edge to kind of like really gently like move the fluid out of the face. So I find it to be a beneficial practice, a hundred percent. It feels very nice. And I find qua out to be kind of like the next step or the next level of that, that requires more education. How are you holding the tool a little bit more type technique and Finese, and so, you know, if you're just looking to pick up a facial tool and not think anymore about it, like a J roller would be a good thing to just pick up and kind of try to see if you like the sensation.
So I'm just thinking through people getting benefits, and sometimes there is a frequency to which you should do something. And so I'm wondering how often I think it could be all the time, but if there needs to be some education around using Guha, you can use a story with this as well, potentially, but how often should people use or get Guha done to see certain benefits and, or I would love to hear kind of like some, a favorite story or two using Guha in practice.
Yeah. So the results are immediate and they are also cumulative. So like immediately after you've done Guha, you know, and I launched wildly, like basically when my child was born. So there was a lot of like sleepless nights. And I really thought that was an incredible time to really see those immediate results because I would feel wake up feeling exhausted, like so puffy and all of the like postpartum hormones, fluid in the body, all of that, I just really felt like so little bit like out of my norm,
And we're talking like 10 minutes or so at a time we'll deliver more results because you're then relaxing the phase with more frequency. You're taking tension out of the face and, and moving Chi and blood. So you're going to see like a brighter complexion again, reduced puffiness. And we started a 21 day Guha challenge at wild Lang, which you can find in the learn tab of our website. And we did that because people, we wanted people to actually like take a before and after and see, and there's of course like the adage that it takes 21 days to form a habit. And that way you really like learn the technique. And I mean, the anecdote I wanna share is just like the mind blowing before and afters that we've seen. Some people say we're like, it's fine to share them. And some people just like share them personally with us, like just their, their pictures.
And it like, the transformation is, is so beautiful because yes, they like, look, their skin looks great and radiant, and the shape of their face often changes, but they just look like more relaxed. And like, they've been taking this time. It's almost this meditated practice, which is very different from a lot of beauty rituals. It's like, can feel like a lot of work sometimes to stand in front of the mirror and apply like all the serums and do all the things. But we encourage people to actually like move their wash us skin care routine, like onto the couch or the sofa, like do it while you're watching a movie, like do it while you're sitting in bed and hanging out. Like, it's something that you can really unwind with and kind of like check in with yourself. It's this opportunity to like, take a time out. So even though most people come to us because they want to look better, like that is the number one feedback that we get is like, I'll feel so much better when I do it. My skin craves it, my face craves it. Like, I just love the ritual of that. So I'm not sure if that totally answers your question, but no,
It sounds good. I think the thing is, is that we're interested, but it sounds like we need a little bit of education to get started in Guha. So how does someone get started? Do you go have it done or do you do some education at home? And then you get a tool where do you suggest someone starts if they want to start using Guha?
Basically we've done it for you because my co-founder Brita is a holistic aesthetician who really was credited with like bringing Guha into the mainstream in a strong way. And we knew that we could never like bring this product to market without providing a lot of education. And so on our website, we have like a tutorials tab. We are very active on Instagram. We release tutorials on how to do this, like almost every day. And so you can go into our, I GTV, we have like an Empress ritual, 1 0 1 series. We have an aura ritual, which is the one for body 1 0 1 series. We have a YouTube channel where you can watch like full length classes on it. We like basically, if you're like, I don't even know where to start, cuz there's so much content, send us a DM, send us an email. Like we will send you the best video to start with.
And so I think the tools are basic enough to learn at home and get a sense for, so don't be overwhelmed like this. Isn't going to be like,
I think this is the perfect time for you to tell us where people can find you online and is, I think there's a discount code. So tell us where to go first.
Yeah. So we [email protected] Wildling me is like a word that describes any plant that grows in the wild. So I also just wanna take a moment and say that we've also created incredible formulas that promote the action of Guha, which is also traditional Chinese medicine practice is using topical plants on the skin to affect change. So all of our products, you know, benefit and promote the results that you're gonna get with Guha. So wildling is any plant that grows in the wild and we [email protected] We are on Instagram at wildling underscore beauty, and that's where you can find our nearly daily tutorials. And we're also learning to use TikTok. So we're also at wildling underscore beauty on TikTok. And we are at wildly under square beauty on YouTube as well, or wildly beauty, maybe just all one word I can't remember. And then, um, I'm gonna look up the discount code for you.
I think it's less stressed, which is great that you picked PayPal. Oh yeah, you guys, you guys showed up with that, which is pretty much what every code is.
Yes. Yes. And we have tools for face. We have tools for body and we also have a quiz, a tool quiz to help you decide which tool is best for you. So you can take our tool quiz. We have like beautiful collections of the skincare products and the tools together. They make really great gifts and they make really great gifts to yourself as well.
I like that. And I wanna mention one thing before I wrap here that you said you were working on launching this company went after you had a baby. And so you were just feeling not amazing and not well rested. And so I remember you saying that you felt nervous that you felt calm and grounded after doing washout, which I feel like is a big thing for someone to practice yoga for about a decade before getting to that point. So just wanted to underscore that a little bit. That's
All. Yeah. I have a great, I have a great anecdote to add to that, that Brita, my co-founder mentioned, which is that she was working on an anthropologist and the anthropologist said that it makes a lot of anthropological sense that doing facial GU eyes like deeply, deeply calming to our neurology because we used to like groom each other and ourselves in the animal kingdom, like going back to our primate roots only when like all was well. So the grooming thing happened when everyone was relaxed. It's like a sunny day looking out over like a nice view. And that's when the grooming happened. So anytime that we're doing this, like gentle small micro movements on the face, we're like triggering that part of the brain to relax the nervous system. So I love that factoid. I love to share it.
Oh, I love it too. I'm glad we had the opportunity to share that one. Okay. Thank you so much for coming on today. That was such a fun primer to Guha. I definitely want to go do that three to five times a week now. Thank you.
Thank you so much for having me. It's been a great combo
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