What is Gua Sha therapy?
Gua Sha is part of traditional Chinese medicine treatment. You can just use a simple tool like coin or spoon to stimulate channels or points. It may or may not leave red marks on the skin, but usually, it will disappear in a few days. It helps with many different conditions, especially the acute type that is caused by weather or external environment.
When to use Gua Sha and when to avoid Gua Sha
Most popular use of Gua Sha is for external disease from the six evils (The Wind, Cold, Heat, Damp, Dry, Fire). Symptoms include the common cold, headache, coughing, dizziness, muscle pain, nausea, vomit, diarrhea, distension and so on.
Gua Sha is not suitable for the following conditions.
- Blood vessel related diseases, or problem with blood clot.
- Acute conditions such as contagious disease or heart attack.
- Bone fracture or after surgery.
- Skin condition such as nodule, scar, or contagious skin disease.
- Too weak, fatigue, nervous, or elderly.
- Pregnant women and new born babies.
Gua Sha tools
Gua Sha tools can be very simple. Here are some popular object as Gua Sha tools:
- ceramic or metal spoon. Use the edge of the spoon.
- Wooden hair comb.
- Glass Cupping (use edge of the cupping)
- Gua Sha plate made of Jade or stone
- Gua Sha plate made of Buffalo horn
Each tool has various degrees of curve to fit different curve of the body.
Gua sha oil helps the movement of Gua Sha and reduce friction. You can use any massage lotion or even water, but special formulated herbal oil designed for Gua Sha can add herbal healing function on the body.
Techniques of Gua Sha
Gua Sha techniques are the combination of acupuncture and Tui Na (massage) techniques. Sometimes blood letting is used in certain acu points. It helps relieves toxins in the body and speeds up healing.
The process of Gua Sha
To do a Gua Sha session, make sure you pick out a proper tool, explain well to patient what to expect, decide which areas and techniques to use according to patient's condition, wash hands, and disinfect all tools with alcohol.
Depending on the individual condition, the skin will usually turn red with Gua Sha. You can observe the color marking, pattern, or any texture changes to know more about the disease. The red mark will disappear in a few days usually. A perfectly healthy people should not have red mark with Gua Sha, but most of us are having some underlying problems so it is perfectly normal to see red marking on the skin.
The mechanism of Gua Sha
In Chinese medicine theory, skin reflects our internal body. Every part of our whole body is inter-connected. Treating skin can stimulate the internal organs and the 12 channels below, invigorate the Qi and Blood, release stagnant toxin and regain balance and health.
How to select the best area for Gua Sha
There are many ways to select the best areas for Gua Sha.
- Local point, channel, or area related to the disease area.
- Distal point, channel or area that corresponds to the disease area.
- Channels or acupuncture points that are related to the disease
- "Ashi" points, meaning the painful or sensitive points or areas when pressed by hand. They are usually the local points.
The common areas for Gua Sha treatments are head, neck, and upper back. You can use the Gua Sha tool to scrap through the whole area quickly, just like brushing your hair. It does not have to be on just one point. Stimulate the whole area can be a preventive therapy. Be careful with the strength of holding the tool, find the right curve of the tool to match the curve of the body. It takes some adjustment and practice, but Gua Sha is a very simple method to treat everyday problems and prevent any development of disease.