For those of you who have came in for a treatment with me, you have likely experienced gua sha already. For the rest of you, time to learn something new!
Gua sha –pronounced ‘Gwa-shaw” – is an ancient modality that is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It produces transitory therapeutic pethiciae, which is a fancy way of saying little red dots caused by breaking the capillaries in the area. I will explain further down in greater detail why this is so beneficial.
What to expect?
Gua sha for sore traps.
First, the practitioner will lubricate the specific area – I tend to use a coconut oil mixture. Then, you will experience a rubbing or scraping sensation with a specific gua sha tool repeatedly over the effected area. Be sure to keep an open mind and let your practitioner know if the pressure is too much. It feels better than it sounds! Here are a few different reasons to love gua sha….
Blood flow is deceased anytime we experience a spasm or injury. Therefor, both uric and lactic acid can get trapped underneath the skin or within a tight muscle. This is because of the lack of drainage caused by the decreased blood flow. We use Gua sha specifically to move Qi and Blood in these types of situations. Studies have found that gua sha increases surface blood circulation by 400% for 7.5 minutes following a treatment. In that same study, two days after the treatment including gua sha, the patient had decreased pain. I have found gua sha to be very effective for neck and upper back pain, it allows me to be able to get into the muscles and fascia in such a small area.
Gua sha also benefits the immune system and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Gua sha can reduce inflammatory symptoms of chronic illness. And Guasha can actually help treat symptoms of hepatitis – this is because of the anti-inflammatory quality that gua sha has. Other Autoimmune diseases gua sha is effective on are; Asthma, Crohns disease, Colitis, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sarcoidosis etc.
ACUTE INFECTIOUS ILLNESSES IE “The Cold”:
Well gua sha can actually reduce your fever and alter the course of an acute infectious illness. Gau sha translates directly from Chinese as, “to scrape away fever.” Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that illnesses such as colds get trapped on the exterior of our bodies, this is where they meet our immune system. This is why we suffer effects on the exterior of our bodies. For example, when we get colds, we feel them as aches in our necks, headaches, and runny noses. By using gua sha, along with Acupuncture, it will actually expel your cold and help you along a quicker recovery. Gua sha is my go to when I catch a cold!
So, now that you know a little more about what the amazing GUA SHA can do. From a common cold to muscle pains to a chronic disease, gua sha can help!
Three different types of gua sha tools (sand stone, ceramic, metal)
The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A comprehensive Text – Giovanni Maciocia