AcuArtistry Tool Care Guide: Gua Sha, Teishin, and IASTM
Updated: Nov 13
By Mark Parzynski, DAOM, L.Ac.,
Copper, silver, and gold are resilient and corrosion-resistant metals. With proper care, your AcuArtistry gua sha tool, teishin, or IASTM tool will last several lifetimes. There are two main cleaning methods, one for home use, when the tool is used only for self-care, and one for a clinical setting where cross-contamination is a concern.
For home use, first, wash the tool with soap and water. Make sure to remove residual oils or lotions. Next, rinse thoroughly to clean all soap residue. Finally, dry the gua sha tool completely. Depending on location and water quality, stains can occur if the item is not thoroughly dried.
In a clinical setting, where cross-contamination is a concern, we have an extra step. First, clean the tool as described in the home use section. Next, use a hospital-grade disinfectant. These products vary greatly, so follow the instructions for your chosen product. Avoid bleach or ammonia-based products as they can affect the integrity of the metal. Finally, re-wash the tool to remove any disinfectant and dry it thoroughly.
Things to Avoid
Copper, silver, and gold are resilient and corrosion-resistant metals, but there are a few things to avoid.
Bleach and ammonia-based cleaners can degrade the metal and cause pitting on the item's surface. Please avoid using these cleaners.
Avoid abrasive cleaners that will put micro scratches on the surface of the tool. They will slowly wear away the metal and damage the finish over time.
Most autoclaves will not damage your tool, but the process will cause extreme water stains and discoloration. These stains may be permanent, so be sure you are okay with changing the look of your tool before this method is employed.
Color Changes in Copper
Over time and use, the color of your tool will change. Eventually, with proper care, copper can develop a beautiful patina revealing deep blues, greens, and reds in the metal. Often copper will go through a slightly “ugly” period before beautiful color variations reveal themselves. These color changes are a perfectly normal process that all copper will undergo. A high-quality jewelry polish can be used if you want to restore the copper to its original shine.
Special Notes On Silver and Gold Items
Silver and gold are soft metals that can scratch or bend easily. Therefore, take extra care when storing or handling them and strictly avoid abrasive cleaners. Silver tools can tarnish. A silver tool that sits unused for a long time or is stored in an oily environment (e.g., some types of leather cases) will discolor faster. Use a high-quality jewelry cleaner to remove the tarnish.
“Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself.”
-- Paramahansa Yogananda
About the Author
Mark Parzynski. DAOM, L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist and educator with a diverse background in the field. He has studied in the United States, Japan, and China and uses a range of unique therapeutic approaches to create personalized treatment plans for his patients. Dr. Parzynski has over a decade of experience as a clinical supervisor and has taught graduate students and clinicians.
In addition to his work in acupuncture, Dr. Parzynski is also a skilled craftsman and silversmith. He began making teishin and gua sha tools as an acupuncture student. His passion as an artisan has continued, and for over a decade, he has been making tools for practitioners worldwide, including some of Japan's most renowned masters.
Dr. Parzynski is also a Chinese internal martial arts practitioner, which he incorporates into his acupuncture practice and daily life. He was a senior student of the late Sifu Gregory Fong and has taught Taiji Quan, Yi Quan, and Qi Gong since 2006.
For acupuncture tools and classes provided by Dr. Parzynski, visit www.AcuArtistry.com