A gua sha treatment for adults is very different than what you’ll do for your baby. Adult gua sha is much deeper, prolonged, and creates much more blushing in the skin. Baby gua sha is gentle, short, and tender.
Gua sha is an ancient and treasured Chinese medicine massage done with a smooth, carved stone and a bit of oil. Inspired by ancient methods, we've adapted the original, heritage-rich techniques to use with babies and pregnancy.
“The pressure you would use on your own face is the pressure you use on your infant.” Patti Wolfrom, RN, LAc.
Our iteration on Gua sha, specifically for babies, is soothing—use it to help increase circulation, calm anxiety, improve health, promote sleep, and boost the immune system. It can help alleviate coughs and colds, inflammation, and tension.
Our gentle and baby-friendly version of gua sha is a wonderful health-promoting technique that our littles can benefit from, even if they’re feeling sick. To learn even more, we encourage you to talk with a licensed acupuncturist about all the wonderful ways you can use massaging stones to enhance health and boding within your family.
As we begin, let’s address a tiny elephant in the room about the difference between baby gua sha massage and the classical Chinese Medicine practice of gua sha for adults: the “gua” in gua sha means “scraping,” but you will not scrape your baby. Unlike typical body massage, the goal isn’t to apply pressure and evoke redness, it’s about soothing and connecting.
Though you’re using a specially carved, smooth stone, the edges are softly curved, not a sharp edge that could press in too deeply or hurt the skin. The light pressure you give helps relax, not challenge, your baby.
Our BEB Organic heart-shaped rose quartz stone mimics the shape of pregnant belly & breasts. Its various curves allow you to use it around bones and joints. And, it’s cooling or warming—if your baby has a fever, it can help relieve the heat by using the cool stone on their forehead. If your baby needs soothing from stress, warm the stone between your hands before putting it on your baby.
As with any treatment, do this when your baby is calm and watch for cues as to how it feels to them.
- Assemble your tools: a smooth, carved gua sha stone, an oil with good glide and that’s free of toxins, a padded surface for baby to lay upon, a light blanket, and…your baby!
- Make sure the room is warm.
- Uncover your baby and lay them on a towel or blanket on a soft massage table or changing table.
- Note: because your baby will be face-down during the back portion of the massage, don’t use a pile of blankets as a pad—it can make breathing difficult if the blankets wrap close to baby’s nose.
- Warm the stone to body temperature by holding it between your hands for a bit, or if your baby is feverish, the cool stone may feel good.
- Hydrate the skin with Soothing Serum, and then warm the Nurturing Oil by putting a few drops in your hands and rubbing them together before applying the oil to your baby.
- Only oil the part of their body that you will work on immediately.
- Starting with baby on their back, look into their eyes and talk calmly about what you’re going to do, or as you go along.
- You can begin with one little leg.
- Babies are wiggly, so you might gently straighten their legs and arms as you go along.
- Apply the warmed oil then lay the gua sha stone on it. Be sure to stroke in only one direction and keep the stone at an approximately 15-degree angle.
- With the pressure you’d apply to a ripe peach, gently draw the stone either up or down your baby’s leg, making sure the stone stays nearly flat against the skin.
- For older children you can use the rounded edge of the stone.
- Repeat 3-5 times, and within a few seconds you may see the skin blush.
- For babies, blushing skin isn’t the goal, but for toddlers or older children, and pre or postnatal care, it can be.
- Blushing indicates blood is moving to the surface, helping remove toxins and release tension.
- Then you can do each side of baby’s calves, making sure to avoid the shin bone.
- Cover the area you’ve finished with a cuddly blanket and go on to the next leg or area for massage.
- Repeat with baby’s arms, remembering to watch your baby for cues as to how this feels to them.
- Turn your baby over, apply more oil, and do the backs of their legs. Because there’s usually more tissue and less bone when it comes to the legs, you can do the entire leg at one time.
- Repeat with the arms, gliding gently over the elbow.
- Oil your baby’s back then begin at their shoulder and stroke down to the hip.
- Start at the side of the spine (never on it), stroking down then moving a little further to the side and repeat until you’ve completed one half of their back. Then do the other side.
- Turn baby over and give that nose a kiss.
After a bath when your baby is calm is the perfect time for gua sha, but like any soothing touch, it can help ease emotions whenever baby needs it.
Many children are experiencing increased anxiety, and even newborns can feel depressed and anxious. Babies can also carry muscle tension, stress, or trauma from their birth.
As a parent, you can help ease challenging emotional states by first doing these relaxing techniques with your baby when they’re little, then later showing your older child how to use soothing self-care like gua sha. With self-care as a normal part of your older child’s health regime, they have calming, healing tools for everything life throws their way.
Most kids love how gua sha feels and will gladly sit quietly while you gently pull the stone over their oiled skin.
Gua sha gives you another way to touch and bond with your baby, and our BEB Organic Soothing & Nurturing Gua Sha Set gives you everything you need.
At BEB Organic, our mission is to promote health, touch, and bonding because these are the foundation of a better world for all of us.
We hope to help you create a better world, too, through loving touch and connection with your family and community.