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The Various Benefits Of Gua Sha Therapy

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The benefits of gua sha therapy are numerous and it especially works against any chronic disorder that involves inflammation or pain.

Gua sha promotes smooth flow of blood to the organs, connective tissues, and muscles; enhances range of movement; and relieves pain and spasms. One session of this therapy often heads off an oncoming cold and can be an effective way to quiet a persistent cough. Studies have revealed that gua sha results in a four-fold boost in microcirculation, stimulates the immune system, and treats inflammation. It also increases the activity of an enzyme that helps lessen inflammation of the internal organ: the heme-oxygenase-1. The upregulation of HO-1 explains in part the use of gua sha for internal organ conditions such as liver disease cough, hepatitis and asthma.

Does gua sha leave bruises or abrasions in the body?

While the site of treatment in gua sha will look like road rash after the therapy, surface of the skin is totally intact and there is no bleeding related to this technique. Gua sha will leave skin discoloration that looks like a bruise but is not. Bruising happens when a sheer force or blow damages the capillaries and leads to bleeding in the tissue. In gua sha, however, blood cells are pressed or extravasated via the capillary walls without the surrounding tissues and the capillaries being damaged. The site of treatment will usually feel a bit tender after treatment but all in all, the result is rapid alleviation of pain and an increase in range of movement.

What happens during and after the therapy?

During the procedure, the therapist utilizes a smooth-edged instrument to stroke the skin repeatedly. Gua means “press stroke” or “to rub” while Sha is a word that denotes the congestion of blood in the surface tissue in parts of the body where the patient experiences pain and stiffness; sha can also refer to the tiny red spots that are elevated during the procedure. “Petechiae” is the medical term for the red spots that occurs during the therapy.

Those petechiae are the blood cells that have been pressed outside of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) as the therapist strokes the skin time and time again. The process of re-absorption within the body immediately starts and it is the this process, combined with a significant rise in local circulation, that leads to the pain-relieving, immune-boosting, and anti-inflammatory benefits that gua sha provides.

Why is the color of sha important and how quick does it fade?

The associated petechiae from gua sha range in color from bright to dark red, and from blue to almost black. When the therapy is performed at the site of an acute or relatively new problem, the color of the petechiae usually is bright red. The reason for this is that the blood stuck beneath the skin in the connective tissue arises during only the procedure. In contrast, the ensuing petechiae when the therapy is done on the treatment site that experiences chronic injury or pain are usually bluish or even black in color. This is due to the blood that has been stagnant for a considerable amount of time.

Also important is how rapid the petechiae dissipate following the procedure. Among young healthy individuals with strong circulatory systems, petechiae vanish quite rapidly. If the gua sha is performed on children in the morning, the petechiae usually vanish by the end of the day. On the other hand, among older people suffering from chronic pain or with slow or weak circulation, the petechiae may need almost a week to completely vanish.

Individuals with stagnant circulation may find that their skin takes longer than usual to return to its normal appearance.

It’s important to remember the following instructions days after your gua sha treatment:

1. For three days following treatment, drink lots of water.

2. As the site of treatment becomes more flexible and dramatically less painful, be informed that if the site is overburdened by strenuous activity days following treatment, it will be prone to re-injury.

3. Wear a scarf over the treated site during windy or cool weather. Use a shirt to cover the treated site at night.

4. Avoid exposing the treated site to extreme temperature, direct sunlight, or drafts till the appearance of your skin goes back to normal.

Dr. Guoen Wang is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and doctor of Chinese medicine in Austin Texas.

Written by Valerie

April 17th, 2018 at 4:53 am

Treatment Of Respiratory Conditions Using Gua Sha Therapy

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One of Chinese medicine’s ancient home remedy for respiratory conditions and other ailments is gua sha therapy. This technique is known as scraping and is starting to find more and more adherents in the West.

As with a lot of alternative therapies, the West has not subjected this therapy to comprehensive scientific studies. The Pain Medicine journal, a few years ago, published the findings of a small study, which showed that when compared to a thermal heating pad, the use of gua sha led to positive short-term results in the treatment of chronic neck pain.

Physical therapists use it to treat foot conditions such as back pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and other muscle problems in the leg. The therapy in general isn’t actually pleasant for the patient and can be a bit uncomfortable.

To locate part of the body that feel tight, gua sha therapists, like massage therapists, palpate their patients and when they find areas that require treatment, the therapists rub them with a spoon or another scraping tool until they area turns red. Basically, the therapist is scraping the blockages in their skin.

For tight muscles, obviously, the area to scarpe is where those muscles are located. Scraping for other ailments, however, is determined by traditions that target the various organs associated with certain parts of the body. The patient’s back, after the first treatment, appears as though he had fallen off a high diving board backward down to a pool. The skin looks completely red with welts and scrapes showing, particularly in areas where the patient had complained of tingling that he thought was because of poor circulation and muscle stiffness.

The redness fades after a few days.

In Germany, researchers at the teaching hospital of the University of Duisburg-Essen formulated a randomized clinical trial that some showed patients with chronic mechanical neck pain being given gua sha therapy while a control group was administered with heating pads to the neck.

The researchers concluded that “compared to the control group the severity of the neck pain of the gua sha group significantly improved after one week compared to the control group. Major therapeutic effects were also discovered for pain at motion and the quality of life of the treatment group significantly improved.

They also noted that “in the long-term management of neck pain and other issues, the efficacy of gua sha needs to be clarified.”

Vancouver Acupuncturists believe that gua sha therapy is a potential treatment for mastitis and neck pain although mastitis (engorgement of the breast) affects people especially some breast-feeding mothers. The therapy also elevates temporary therapeutic petechiae or other few hemorrhages from broken blood vessels. It stimulates the body to produce an immune and anti-inflammatory response.

Gua sha is safe and is a surprisingly painless treatment. It triggers the immune response of the body that in turn, can lead to the treatment of infection or can make the antibiotic more effective.

While gua sha therapy is often taught at Chinese medicine schools, no one needs a certification or license to practice the therapy. The way gua sha is done is simple but unscientific. When a person gets sick, the sickness inside his body can’t get out. The strokes of Gua sha therapy allow the sickness to escape.

Written by Valerie

April 3rd, 2018 at 6:37 am

Gua Sha Therapy To Relieve Both Chronic And Acute Pain

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An ancient Chinese healing technique, Gua sha is used by a lot of traditional Chinese medicine therapists. It is a procedure that involves the application of massage oil or any other lubricating medium on the site(s) of treatment and the use of a smooth-edged tool to scrape the skin, usually on the back parallel to the spine or in the area of pain to relieve various types of ailments. This scraping movement produces ecchymosis (raised bruising) and/or petechiae (redness).

Gua sha is most commonly used for both chronic and acute pain. According to traditional Chinese medicine, pain is usually the result of blood stagnation in the area of discomfort. Practitioners of this therapy believe that Gua sha has the ability to promote the smooth flow of blood in the area boost the unfettered circulation of blood in the area and to eliminate stagnation which then leads to the relief of pain.

Gua sha is often indicated for the relief of pain; however, it is also sometimes used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to treat problems such as muscle spasms, sprains, strains, fibromyalgia, heatstroke, fever, flu, colds, bronchitis, and asthma.

Most experts believe that Gua sha works because it boosts microcirculation (blood flow) in the soft tissues, sets off the release of endorphins, natural pain-relieving chemicals of the body, and obstruct the pathways of pain response. All these result in the relief of pain.

Gua sha is considered by some as a type of folk medicine; interestingly however, scientific research community has come to its defense! Harvard medicine researchers have revealed the effectiveness of the treatment and have provided insight as to how it works. The journal Pain Medicine in 2011 published a study showing how gua sha was able to reduce pain among chronic neck pain patients. They noted that “After a week the severity of the neck pain significantly improved better in the group treated with gua sha compared with the group treated with heat therapy (control group).”

Doppler images and other techniques were used by the researchers, to prove that microcirculation has indeed improved in the site of treatment, which then led to the reduction of both distal and local areas of pain. In animal studies, gua sha was shown to affect the Heme Oxygenase-enzyme which has an antioxidative effect in the cells in mice. One human study revealed that gua sha can lower inflammatory markers of a Hepatitis B patient with liver injury which suggests that the treatment may even have a beneficial effect on the liver.

For those who are interested in getting gua sha treatment, you need to look for an Orlando experienced and licensed acupuncturist in or near your area. During your initial consultation, your acupuncturist will first conduct an exhaustive assessment to make sure you are eligible for this form of treatment. You may find an acupuncturist near you by going online and visiting the website of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Written by Valerie

December 12th, 2017 at 6:57 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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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