Why This Acupuncturist Launched Her Own Line of Gua Sha Tools

Sandra Lanshin Chiu’s brand honors the rich lineage of traditional Chinese medicine.
Lanshin founder Sandra Lanshin Chiu and Lanshin's pro gua sha tool, scalp stimulator, sculpting spoon, massager by Acera and intro gua sha tool.
Courtesy of Lanshin
Lanshin founder Sandra Lanshin Chiu and Lanshin's pro gua sha tool, scalp stimulator, sculpting spoon, massager by Acera and intro gua sha tool.

HuffPost receives a share from retailers on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Sandra Lanshin Chiu knows the value of tradition. When it comes to gua sha, the trained acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner is all about authenticity, education and practical application. She’s worked hard for the knowledge and skill she has in her field, both in the classroom and over 20 years of working with patients, and used it to launch her own brand, Lanshin.

For those unfamiliar with gua sha, Lanshin Chiu explained it as a centuries-old traditional Chinese medicine friction-based technique involving scraping or rubbing on the body to boost internal health. These days, however, the practice is most associated with facial gua sha, which centers on massaging the face with a smooth-edged stone tool to relieve tension, increase circulation and improve the look of the skin.


The rising popularity and subsequent cultural appropriation of gua sha poses a problem for trained experts like Lanshin Chiu. On a practical level, she said, there is now a saturation of cheaply made knock-off products and haphazard instruction videos that come with no real context.

To honor her own experience and the rich lineage of TCM, Lanshin Chiu founded Lanshin, her traditional Chinese medicine dermatology brand, and began designing her own gua sha tools and releasing in-depth tutorials on her website and social media channels.

“I knew if I didn’t do it, there would be no Chinese TCM representation. ... I just felt like culturally it would be a sea of people speaking inaccuracy about facial gua sha,” she said. “And I just couldn’t let that happen, I just felt protective of my medicine.”

Her years of schooling and real-life experience empowered Lanshin Chiu to create authentic, high-quality and incredibly effective gua sha tools.

“There’s a lot of intentionality and thought put into every little detail,” she said of her products. “What’s the material, what’s the shape? Gua sha should be for all. TCM is a medicine of the people. So we wanted to do our best, provide a quality tool, real freaking stone, not fake shit, that was handcrafted with quality.”

“Part of why I decided to make a tool was because I knew if I didn’t do it, there would be no Chinese TCM representation... I felt protective of my medicine.”

- Sandra Lanshin Chiu

Lanshin Chiu urges people interested in trying gua sha for themselves to do their homework and find a brand with real TCM expertise. In addition to higher quality, more specialized products, she says such brands will likely have informed support staff on hand if you have questions or concerns later on.

For those stuck on what stone to buy, Lanshin Chiu broke it down: Rose quartz is the best budget option — though the most fragile — and has a smooth and glassy feel. Xiuyan jade (a lighter green), is another affordable option. It’s more durable and has more of a “stone” finish that creates positive light friction on the skin. The almost black nephrite jade, the most durable stone, has what Lanshin Chiu says “a good hand feel [and] a beautiful sensation.”

While you may want to dive right in, Lanshin Chiu suggests you check out the free tutorials on the Lanshin site before starting gua shaat home. And if you need more help selecting the right tool for you, she broke down her favorite gua sha and home massage items below.

For professional level gua sha at home: Lanshin Pro gua sha tool
"It literally is like a Swiss army knife of a gua sha tool," said Lanshin Chiu of this high-quality patented nephrite jade stone. "You really don't need another one if you have this one."

Lanshin Chiu spent years designing the Pro tool, and says it's ideal for professionals or those craving professional-level results. "Every curve and shape, every edge of this tool is intentional."

Lanshin Chiu said the "sculpting V" at the top is designed for areas like the jawbone, brow bone and cheekbone to "get a really good hold"; the sides are designed for large curved surfaces; and the edges — "I call it the sculpting lip and the comb" — are important for improving the look and shape of skin.
For getting into the basics: Intro gua sha tool
Lanshin's Intro models are more basic shaping tools offered in more affordable materials including rose quartz, Xiuyan jade and stainless steel, though it also comes in that luxurious nephrite jade.

"It's just a more simple shape, also very effective for gua sha," said Lanshin Chiu. "It will get the job done."
For elevating your acupressure practice: a sculpting spoon
The sculpting spoons are what Lanshin Chiu calls "booster tools," ideal for people who have a gua sha practice and are interested in accupressure. She noted you can do acupressure with any gua sha tool, but said the shape of these is good for both general acupressure and detail work on the face.

When addressing cosmetic concerns, she said, she uses the spoon for "detail work around the eyes, nose and lips because these are smaller areas with smaller little muscles that that pen tip really can drive into in a way that's very comfortable, [it's] soft and round. The spoon tip I use... to smooth everything over in a big broad stroke. Plus, the spoon tip can kind of give you more precise shaping or sculpting."
For at-home hot facial and body massages: Lanshin hot massager by Acera
"Our hot massagers are just amazing," said Lanshin Chiu, noting it is "very Chinese medicine to use the healing power of heat" on the face and body.

With no batteries or chargers needed, this manual massager has a crushed tourmaline crystal glaze and can be simply filled with hot water to produce heat.

"Tourmaline is one of a few types of stone that when you heat it, the type of energy that it admits is actually far-infrared," she said. "FIR heat means that it penetrates deeper to affect circulation in a more effective way. And it lasts a while, like 20 to 30 minutes."
For giving your scalp extra attention: Jade scalp stimulator
Lanshin's newest tool, a scalp stimulator, comes in durable Xiu Yan jade and is designed to be "like five fingers down on your scalp stimulating it at once," said Lanshin Chiu, who added that "you don't get as strong of a stimulation when you use your fingers" to massage your own scalp, in part because of fatigue.

"When you're really trying to get a strength of stimulation to boost up blood flow, I like to use a tool because of that hard contact that it gives you."

Before You Go

Solawave advanced skincare wand with light therapy

17 Splurge-Worthy Gifts For The Skin Care-Obsessed

Popular in the Community


HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds