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Gua Sha Treats A Wide Range Of Health Issues Including Chronic And Acute Pain

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An ancient form of East Asian healing technique, Gua Sha is used to treat a wide range of health issues including chronic and acute pain. This technique uses a smooth instrument to scrape the skin in order to generate a therapeutic and temporary rash. The rash that develops is believed to relieve pain and other issues associated with stagnation of blood flow or “congestion” of blood.

According to Gua Sha healers, chronic and acute inflammation and pain are due to sluggish movement of vital energy or Chi and blood of a patient. They believe that when the skin in the affected area of the body is scraped, the area develops an elevated rash that treats pain and other symptoms of illnesses by forcing stagnant fluids and blood to move. When the fluids and blood start to move, they transport metabolic waste towards muscles and surface tissues, and boost microcirculation in the site of treatment.

The rashes from the Gua Sha therapy consist of tiny blood extravasations just deep to the skin surface (Sha). In Western medicine, these tiny blood leakages are called “ecchymoses” or “petechiae” and are an apparent sign that static blood has been restored to a healthy flow. The rashes normally clear around two to four days.

Some of the health problems that can be treated with Gua Sha therapy include musculoskeletal problems such as spasm, strain, and fibromyalgia and respiratory conditions such as emphysema, bronchitis, asthma, and the common cold. In the management of pain, Gua Sha is known to alleviate chronic and acute pain that may be attributed to these and other conditions.

Procedure

During a session of Gua Sha therapy, the practitioner or healer presses or palpates the skin of the patient in order to locate tender knots and points in the substratal musculature. The healer also searches for parts of the body that display delayed capillary refill or blanching. Then based on the findings, the healer lubricates the site of treatment with oil and then using a smooth instrument scrapes the treatment site with broad strokes until the telltale rash develops. Some of the instruments typically used to create the rash include slices of animal horn, coins, or soup spoons; and the treatment sites usually treated are the stomach, chest, limbs, buttocks, shoulders, neck, and back.

The duration and color of the rash is believed to aid the Gua sha healer to diagnose and customize a plan of treatment to specifically address the needs of the patient. For instance, a light-colored Sha can indicate a Chinese medicine diagnosis known as “blood deficiency,” while dark-colored Sha may indicate stagnant blood that has been going on for an extended period of time.

Gua Sha Benefits

A growing body of research provides clinical evidence that acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, massage, and other reflex therapies aid in reducing the symptoms of pain by influencing the function of the spinal cord and pain-sensing neurons called nociceptors. In addition, these comforting social therapies may be good for patients suffering from pain by promoting relaxation.

A controlled clinical randomized open trial revealed that Gua Sha generated positive short-term effects on functional status and pain in patients suffering from chronic pain in the neck. The trial recruited 48 patients who were randomly treated with local thermal heat pads or with Gua Sha therapy. The effects of the treatment were monitored for seven days. Compared to the control group, the group given gua sha therapy experienced significant improvement in the severity of their neck pain. The patients in the gua sha group also experienced reduced scores on the NDI (Neck Disability Index (NDI), relief of pain, and a higher quality of life. The researchers reported that the Gua Sha treatment was apparently well tolerated and totally safe.

In another similar controlled randomized study, the effects of gua sha therapy on the pressure pain thresholds and pain ratings in patients suffering from chronic low back pain and chronic neck pain was measured. It was discovered that the patients treated with Gua Sha therapy reported decreases in these two pain scales.

Risks

Neither the current national standards nor the literature adequately address Gua Sha therapy safety standards. It is widely believed, however, that Gua Sha should not be performed on patients suffering from bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners. Gua Sha should also not be performed in parts of the body where there are open sores burns and other superficial skin lesions, in areas where there is bruising, and in areas such as the spine where there are overlying bony prominences. It should also not be performed on the genitalia.

Results

The response of the patient to Gua Sha therapy guides the healer into creating a customized plan of treatment. The duration and color of the rash, for instance, can provide information that can be used in planning future treatment.

Moreover, the personal experience of the patient may determine whether Gua Sha is a proper treatment for their pain. Those likely to benefit from additional sessions are patients who report relaxation and pain relief.

Blue Mountain Acupuncture
2200 Melrose St Suite 9
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Phone: (509) 876-4597
https://www.bluemountainacupuncture.com

Written by Valerie

April 10th, 2018 at 4:50 am