Your Guide To Body Combing, The Everyday Skin Sculpting Practice

With the rise in popularity of face sculpting tools, it was only a matter of time before body sculpting options became available. Along with gua sha, an ancient tradition known for releasing pent-up liquid from the lymph nodes and helping to drain water retention, body combing is meant to help the entire being physically and energetically. In Chinese tradition, it is believed that your body can benefit from being drained of uneven energies, excess water, and bloat. That is where these combs or brushes come in: like with facial gua sha, they help expel elements that might be weighing you down or causing a shift in your energy.


Many people use gua sha tools to help define their jawline and push trapped moisture out of their cells. These tools help both your external complexion, as well as produce a more sculpted facial shape. With social media platforms consistently boasting hacks and tricks to promote weight loss, better skin, and general appearance advice, the art of gua sha has seen a massive spike in the last few years. This is why it is no wonder body combing has become equally as popular, with the promise of dropping unwanted pounds and better health. So how does it work, and can you benefit from this everyday practice?

What is body combing?

Gua sha is predominately associated with ancient Chinese traditions but can be traced back to the Paleolithic Age. Around 3 million years ago, humans would reach for rocks to massage parts of their bodies in pain or discomfort. This act helped to drain areas that might have been retaining more water or alleviating places of poor circulation. Later, ancient individuals would incorporate various scrapers in their everyday routine to drain lymph nodes and improve circulation. According to Rosafa, people of higher standing or wealth preferred Jade as their combs or scrapers. At the same time, average citizens would have to settle for different metals, horns from local animals, or stones with sharper points and edges.


The idea behind this practice comes from the thought that blood can become static, inducing illness and discomfort. By rubbing the body in certain areas and sticking to one direction, these tools would shift and circulate the blood, helping to cure disease. The ancient Chinese also believed in meridians, which were "channels" for energy to run through the body. These are prone to blockages, so gua sha is coveted to help clear these pathways. Not only do these tools physically help with drainage issues, but they can leave people feeling more open and balanced.

What does it do?

Chinese beliefs are steeped in energy. Feng shui follows the idea that Chi flows through everything, which is why organizing furniture and home interiors in a certain way is essential. With gua sha, the belief is that the body is filled with meridians. Traditional Chinese Medicine (also referred to as TCM) explains meridians as strings or tethers that tie acupuncture locations together. These channels allow energy to flow throughout the body openly and are interconnected.


One of the biggest reasons TCM supports and encourages gua sha and body combing, in general, is because these channels can become blocked. Physically, these blockages are caused by water retention or poor blood flow. Gua sha tools stimulate lymphatic drainage, helping people lose weight, get better circulation, and help awaken dull complexions at the same time. With body combing, you learn to follow these strings to open up obstructed meridians, allowing the energy within to flow more freely.

How to use body combing in your routine

While facial gua sha is about helping to give a lymphatic massage to the face and reduce water retention in this area, body combing takes it a step further. According to Net-A-Porter, the practice is simple to follow, and you can start by brushing your tool down the outside of your arms, legs, or other limbs for six strokes. You want to move to the inside of your extremities next, sticking with the same number of strokes but in an upwards motion. This will clear your body's meridians and alleviate water retention or pain. Many people even swear by the weight loss powers of these tools.


The length of the strokes doesn't matter, and it can vary depending on what works for you. If you prefer to take longer, sweeping brushes or digging in for shorter strokes, as long as your body responds positively, the practice works. You should feel like your muscles are getting a deep-tissue massage, and you might even notice red spots after you finish. This is just your blood circulating and moving around, and the release within reflects your meridians' energies freeing themself from obstructions or blockages. Your middle and torso can benefit from diagonal strokes; then, you can revisit any spots that need extra attention. It is essential to do this every day to see the results and keep your body responding to the combing.


What kind of tools are good for body combing?

There are various tools you can use for body brushing or combing. Some combs are made from differing crystals, each of which offers a range of benefits. If you use jade, you might notice an uptick in how balanced you feel. Rose quartz is a popular crystal highly associated with energy, making it a good comb for clearing meridians and boosting the metaphysical self. Amethyst stones are recommended for people with tension or stress, and while they are often used for TMJ in the jaw, their healing properties can work on other sections of the body as well.


The combs should have some moisture to give them momentum on the skin. Oils are great for hydrating and allow the tool to run over the areas you focus on quickly. Jojoba and Bio-Oils are some of the most popular products, but you can also opt for one that firms while it moisturizes. If you'd instead comb in the shower, this is equally as effective and offers a relaxing activity to enjoy under the rushing water.

Why you stick with it

According to TCM, these meridians do more than connect pressure or acupuncture points. They also act as pathways to organs, so when you comb and release blockages, you're actually removing toxins. Organs can suffer if too much fat is built up, but certain elements people ingest or partake in can also cause damage, like alcohol or too much sugar. Regularly releasing these toxins will stave off illness and keep you happy and healthy.


Adding body combing to your daily or nightly routine isn't just a way to relax or lose weight: it's good for your body inside and out. Staying consistent is critical, but don't worry too much if you miss a day here and there. Just take the time to show yourself a little love when you can, and you'll see the benefits and rewards from such a unique and simple practice. Happy combing.