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Some Important Details Regarding Gua Sha Therapy

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The Chinese medicine technique known as Gua Sha is derived from two Chinese characters, ‘Gua’ which means ‘to rub or ‘scrape’, and ‘Sha’, a term used to depict a ‘petechiae’ or ‘millet-like, raised, reddish, skin rash.’ Gua Sha is a therapeutic procedure in which a petechiae is applied pressure and scraped with a handheld instrument with a curved surface, like a coin or a soup spoon.

A majority of practitioners though, use the traditional tool of a smooth water buffalo horn that’s precisely designed for the therapy. The tool is placed on the problematic parts of the skin and body that have been made slippery with massage oil and with firm pressure scraped over and over. The force of the scraping elevates the soft tissue causing a ‘Sha,’ leaving on the skin what appear to be bruises.

People oftentimes mistake this bruising as a result of a painful injury, but it is actually totally painless. Within two or three days, the marks usually dissipate rapidly, and are actually considered an essential part of the treatment. The ‘Sha’ is important as it provides the practitioner with a visual sign of the state of blood circulation in the site of the treatment. This diagnostic sign can serve as feedback before treatment is initiated for conditions ranging from neck pain to sciatica.

The administration of Gua Sha therapy requires a certain understanding of how the body muscles move together and connect with each other. A practitioner won’t be able to do much for the patient without having an understanding of the anatomy of the human body. But if the practitioner is well versed in human physiology and anatomy and has been well-trained in the art of Gua Sha treatment, he will be able to diagnose and treat conditions and illnesses caused by stress, tension, and disease.

Under the hands of a skilled and experienced practitioner, Gua Sha therapy can be applied on a lot of bodily problems. The therapy is often administered on the neck, shoulders, buttocks, and back. It can be used to eliminate toxins from the body, treat common conditions such as colds, and boost the immune system. The therapy can quickly treat sciatic relieving the pain and numbness brought about by the pathological bearing of pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Some practitioners use Gua Sha alongside acupuncture treatment. The red marks produced by the technique are often used to denote conditions such as stagnation of chi or vital energy, lack of oxygen, and bodily toxins on those areas. After the acupuncturist performs Gua Sha treatment, he may be able to easily interpret the diagnostic signs and customize an acupuncture plan of treatment to treat the diagnosed problems. This determination and narrowing of the site of treatment can be a very helpful diagnostic aid, enabling the practitioner to have a more focused treatment when performing acupuncture for the management of stress or any other type of problem that needs to be addressed.

While Gua Sha is considered a safe healing technique and may be used as a treatment for various forms of conditions and ailments, it should not be used:

• On pregnant women
• On people with weak constitutions
• On people with bleeding disorders
• On skin diseases, open wounds, and varicose veins
• On patients taking anti-coagulant drugs like warfarin
• Immediately following surgery

Some Measures to Take Following a Gua Sha Procedure

After you have undergone a Gua Sha treatment, it’s important to drink some warm water and rest for a short while. You also should not take a bath or a shower for at least an hour after the treatment, and for at least 24 hours, you need to avoid taking a cold shower or bath. Also following treatment, you need to keep the treatment sites protected, warm, and covered up from cold and wind at all times.

Ivelisse DeJongh is a Miami acupuncturist and the medical director at DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic.

Written by Valerie

December 12th, 2017 at 6:32 am