Gua Sha? Spooning? Scraping? Is it a hippy love thing or a sadistic torture? This deep scratching therapy helps with pain and is used for common colds? You are going to ask me about strapless backed dresses? What?!
So many questions! In this article I will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Gun Sha.
By the end of this you will have more insight into what Gua Sha is all about. If your questions are not answered by the end, then ask in the comments and I will respond.
Gua Sha Therapy [A Simple Guide]
What is Gua Sha therapy?
Gua Sha therapy is a technique of Oriental Medicine. It involves the use of a blunt instrument to apply repeated strokes to an area.
Gua Sha is also known as:
- Cao Gio (Vietnam)
- Kerik (Indonesia)
- Khoud Lam (Laos)
- Ga Sal (Cambodia)
- Graston technique
Gua Sha is a stand-alone therapy, though more commonly used in conjunction with a massage or acupuncture treatment.
What Gua Sha tools are used?
The traditional tool used is from polished water buffalo horn. In modern practice Gua Sha with a spoon (ceramic) is the most common form of application. Clinical or home treatments can use a range of Gua Sha tools including:
- Smooth rock or crystal
- Jam jar lid
- Graston tool
- Specific water buffalo or jade Gua Sha tools
What does Gua Sha benefit?
Gua Sha is used to:
- Reduce pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce tension
- Remove toxins
- Enhance beauty
Gua Sha is effective for a range of presenting symptoms. Gua Sha has an anti-inflammatory and immunity stimulation effect on the body. It helps release muscular tension and pain, as well as ward off the initial onset of the common cold.
The purpose of Gua Sha is to relax the surrounding muscles. It draws toxins out from deep within the muscles and body. This allows them to the body to flush them away and nourish the local area with fresh blood.
These toxins are a result of the congestion of Qi and blood in the body. This may be the result of trauma or toxic lifestyle factors such as smoking.
There has been a rise in Gua Sha facial treatments offered as part of cosmetic routines. Application is with a light pressure to rejuvenate the skin and reduce wrinkles.
How does Gua Sha work?
Gua Sha involves the use of a smooth edged tool in what is often described as a scraping massage. This creates friction and stretches the tissue to release tension and congestion.
From an Oriental medicine perspective, Gua Sha:
- Dredges the channels
- Release blockages of Qi and blood
- Vents heat
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From a Western perspective, Gua Sha:
- Stretches fascia
- Stimulates the immune system
- Increases metabolic
When Qi and blood stagnate, it produces heat (inflammation). As with cupping, it removes diseases that arise from the
Does Gua Sha hurt?
Gua Sha, like all treatments, should not be painful. It generally feels like a form of scraping massage. To reduce any pain when receiving Gua Sha, less pressure or slower strokes reduces any soreness.
Is Gua Sha safe?
Beyond Gua Sha marks, the side effects are minimal. Gua Sha is safe in pregnancy
It does not break the skin which means the chance for infection is minimal. A contraindication for Gua Sha is application over already broken skin.
Discomfort may occur after treatment, but this should only be temporary if it occurs.
Gua Sha can be a strong therapy and its application should only be for those with adequate strength. For those in poorer health, prior assessment by a trained practitioner is important.
Graston technique vs Gua Sha – what’s the difference?
Very little defines the difference between the
The difference only lies in the language use to describe the underlying process. The description of Graston technique is related to connective tissue and tissue adhesion. Gua Sha is also described in the language of Chinese medicine.
For all intents and purposes, Graston technique is Gua Sha repackaged for other therapists. Specific tools have been developed for the Graston technique. These are fancy versions of the more simple soup spoon or other traditional Gua Sha tools.For all intents and purposes, Graston technique is Gua Sha repackaged for other therapists. Click To Tweet
Is Gua Sha bruising a concern?
After Gua Sha treatment, there may be marks appearing in the treated area. These marks are not bruises. This is Sha and reflects the toxins which are being released from the body. Sha generally disappears within a few days after treatment.
How long does Gua Sha bruising last?
Gua Sha marks should clear within a few days to a week.
Ensure a good intake of water following treatment to assist your body in clearing these marks and toxins away. Keep the treated area warm and covered to protect the area from cold. This helps with preventing a recurrence of symptoms.
Where to learn Gua Sha
Gua Sha is taught in acupuncture and Oriental medicine courses. Professional development courses exist for practitioners of other modalities such as massage therapists.
For the home user, it is a simple technique to learn. It is a common home remedy throughout Asia. Transmission is through family knowledge rather than any professional training.
The keys to remember is to lubricate the skin first with oil and to follow the paths of stroking down and out. This is shown in the following picture.
Gua Sha in Melbourne
Gua Sha may be used as a stand-alone
What else would you like to know?
Thanks for reading this far. Have I missed your question? Was something unclear? Let me know in the comments below!