What is Gua Sha? What You Need to Know
Gua Sha continues to gain popularity over the years. But, if it’s your first time hearing about it, this article is for you. Let’s uncover the art of scraping your skin – Gua Sha.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha (pronounced as gwahshah) comes from a Chinese word for scraping. Skin scraping, spooning, or coining are also the other known terms. It’s a traditional Chinese healing technique that involves the application of pressure by scraping your skin with a massage tool. It is noted to alleviate discomfort and tension from musculoskeletal pain. This technique also involves light bruising which may appear purple or red spots known as petechiae or sha.
According to conventional Chinese medicine, energy flowing through the body is qi or chi. Many people believe that to ensure their health and well-being, a person’s qi must be balanced and flows freely. And, this is the aim of gua sha.
It was believed that qi can be blocked causing muscle and joint pain or stress. This blocked energy is intended to transfer Gua sha to relieve aches or stiffness. Blood stasis or stagnation is often considered by traditional East Asian medicine as a source of pain and illness. To alleviate symptoms, another aim of gua sha is to transfer pooled or stagnated blood.
How is Gua Sha Applied?
Working with gua sha involves adding massage oil or other lubricants to the skin where the procedure is going to take place. To apply short strokes to the skin, a gua sha massage tool is then used or a smooth-edge instrument. These gua sha motions are often referred to as’ scraping’ or’ press strokes’. Depending on the procedure and practitioner, the duration of these strokes can differ.
Press strokes that are made over bony areas are performed more softly than over flatter or muscular areas, such as the cervical spine in the neck. It may take several minutes or longer to apply for a gua sha. It is recommended to take it easy for the rest of the day, including no alcohol after the gua sha treatment is completed. This recommendation to relax is based on the assumption that the gua sha treatment has gotten the blood and energy flowing again, and too much activity may decrease its benefits too fast. Gua sha is often paired with other types of treatment, such as acupuncture.
Below is one of our Acupuncturist Serack Oh, applying the gua sha tool to release fascia on the patient’s right upper back muscles.
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Serack Oh, our acupuncturist is working on releasing fascia on the patient’s right upper back muscles using gua sha tool. Gua sha is a hands-on technique which is effective to release tight fascia or get rid of muscle knots. By scraping your skin with a gua sha tool it can help to improve circulation. This technique can generally be performed on back, neck, arms, buttocks, and legs. 🏷️Tag your friend or family member who need this. Don’t forget to 💬 Comment 💌 Share & Give some ❤️ If it’s your first time on our page – WELCOME👋 & don’t forget to follow👉🏻@evergreenclinic for more updates.🙏🏻 📔To book our services online please click 👉🏻@evergreenclinic bio above.
What are the uses of Gua Sha?
In order to alleviate muscle and joint pain, Gua sha is used most frequently. Muscle and bone diseases are known as musculoskeletal disorders. Back pain, tendon strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome are some examples.
These trigger a reaction that can help to break up scar tissue in the body. Microtrauma can also help with fibrosis, which, as the body heals, is an accumulation of too much connective tissue. A repetitive strain injury or another condition may be responsible for this problem. Along with other therapies, including stretching and strengthening exercises, Gua sha is used.
What are the benefits of Gua Sha?
Gua sha is beneficial for those who are suffering from back pain, near-menopausal women, neck and shoulder pain from computer use, and to assist with recovery after exercise. Gua sha is effective in resolving back pain because muscle rubbing or scratching encourages circulation where it has previously been reduced. Before healing may take place, when back muscle fibers are weakened, multiple steps must occur.
A 2014 study showed that in people who used computers regularly, gua sha increased the range of movement and decreased pain relative to a control group who had no treatment.
Weightlifters who had gua sha thought in a 2017 study that after treatment, lifting weights needed less effort. This may mean that the medication accelerates the regeneration of muscles. Either with gua sha or a hot pack, older adults with back pain were treated. The symptoms were fairly well alleviated by both therapies, but the effects of gua sha lasted longer. Those receiving gua sha care after one week showed greater flexibility and less back pain than the other party.
What are the risks and side effects of using Gua Sha?
Gua sha is not for everybody. Those people who can’t have gua sha are those having medical problems that damage the skin or veins, bleed easily, take blood-thinning medicine, have deep vein thrombosis, have an implant, such as a pacemaker or internal defibrillator, have an infection, tumor, or wound that has not completely healed. Gua sha causes tiny blood vessels called capillaries to burst at the surface of the skin.
The distinctive red or purple bruises, known as sha, are formed by this. It normally takes a few days or a week for the bruises to heal and can be tender when healing. To help with pain and minimize swelling, people should take an over-the-counter painkiller, such as ibuprofen. The bruised area should be covered by a person and take care not to bump it. It can help to minimize inflammation and relieve any pain by applying an ice pack. During the procedure, Gua sha practitioners do not break the skin, but there is a chance that it could happen. Broken skin raises the risk of infection, so between procedures, a gua sha practitioner should always sterilize their instruments.
How does Gua Sha look and feel?
To outsiders who are unfamiliar with this procedure, Gua sha can look odd or seem painful. The tiny blood vessels (capillaries) under the skin will burst when a practitioner press-strokes the skin with a rounded edge during gua sha. This process causes red spots (petechiae) to appear in the skin which looks like a rash or bruise.
Depending on the patient’s condition as well as the abilities of the doctor, the size and darkness of the resulting spots can vary greatly. Redness normally goes away within 2 to 4 days. Usually, Gua sha is not defined as painful, but the procedure may be unpleasant in some cases. For muscle tightness and other anomalies, the practitioner must feel (palpate) the neck, and the press-strokes applied during gua sha require a considerable amount of pressure (but not as much intensity as deep tissue massage).
Is Gua Sha treatment for you?
Gua sha is a treatment that is very intense and serious. So in larger muscles such as the back, shoulders, neck, legs, and arms, if you’re trying to stretch these out, then this therapy will possibly get to the root of your problem. You’re the perfect candidate if you’re struggling with muscle pain and mobility problems.
But acupuncture or a standard massage will be right up your alley if you’re looking for relief or an anxiety reducer. The tighter you are or the more muscle dysfunction you have, the more susceptible you will be to the procedure, and the worse your skin will look afterward-think redness, inflammation, and bleeding (which sometimes appears as petechiae, or purple or red spots).
For this therapy, people who have recently had surgery, who have clotting problems, or who can’t handle pain are not the best candidates.
But, if you are struggling with chronic musculoskeletal pain and applying gua sha would be okay with you, we are here to help. You may book for a gua sha treatment from our highly skilled and experienced acupuncturist Serack Oh which you can book for his services online.
If you want to get out pain, remember that Evergreen Rehab and Wellness is here to help you. Book online now.