What is body combing?
While we already know that hand-held crystal gua sha tools help sculpt features and nourish skin (working them over the face moves lymph and stimulates healthy blood circulation), the body can similarly benefit from using a crystal “comb”. “It’s a self-healing Chinese medicine treatment that works on both a physical and energetic level,” explains Chinese medicine practitioner Katie Brindle. “As well as shifting trapped lymph that causes water retention, you move trapped energy in the body’s meridians (energy lines), which helps to expel waste products, including fat – I dropped a dress size on my thighs just with body combing.” So, while body combing – like body brushing – buffs up dull skin and tones your body by moving sluggish lymph, depending on how deep you choose to take this, it can work on many levels. Even the type of crystal you use is said to make a difference: a jade comb creates more balance in the body, while a rose quartz comb works more on energy.
How to body comb
As with body brushing, you have to actually do it (ideally daily) to see and feel the difference. “It’s very simple to do and takes less than four minutes a day,” says Brindle. “Either do it with water in the shower or using a body oil so you have some slip on the skin. You follow the energy flow of the meridians, so work down the outside of each limb and then up the inside, doing about six strokes per area. It’s what’s called ‘dredging the meridians’, as, like a river bed, these energy channels silt up and need to be cleared of emotional and physical blockages.”
How you do it is up to you, depending on whether long, sweeping strokes or short, brisk ones intuitively feel better for your body. “Then work diagonally down over the belly, and use brisk strokes over any problem areas,” says Brindle. For some, the skin comes up red, for others – myself included – even the briskest of combing has little visible impact. Either way, it is still working. “It’s supposed to feel good, the sort of wonderful release you feel from a good deep-tissue massage,” says Brindle. “Combing should be on the side of pleasure, not pain.”
The health benefits of body combing
More than just toning up your body, according to Chinese medicine you are “toning up” your immune system, digestion and internal organs. “Each meridian is linked to an organ, so body combing helps rebalance these organs while clearing any waste product, including fat,” explains Brindle. “The back of the arms is linked to the intestines, heart and lungs, while combing the stomach and front of the thighs works on the digestion, and the chest helps enhance heart and lung function and strengthen immunity.”
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