About Gua Sha

Gua Sha is the application of a smooth hard tool in a scraping motion to the skin that has been covered with an oil or liniment and serves to increase blood flow, remove pain, and stimulate the immune system. Gua Sha can be utilized for a variety of conditions and depending on the reason for it’s usage, the location and technique may vary. For example, when treating a respiratory condition, the linament will be applied over acupuncture points associated with the lungs and then the gua sha will be preformed in this area until the area has been properly stimulated. For complaints such as muscle aches, pains, and tightness, the lianment is added to these areas and then stimulated over a broader area, often with the practitioner using a scraping motion in the direction of the affected muscle fibers.

There are a large variety of tools and lubricants that can be used in Gua Sha treatments depending on the condition of the patient and the preference of the practitioner.

Different oils or linaments will be utilized depending on whether the patient is being treated for a cold or a flu versus a person being treated for neck and shoulder pain. In addition there are a large variety of different gua sha tools available that are made of different substances. Tools made of plastic, ceramics, bone, jade or metal are available. The most commonly used are large ceramic soup spoons or a hollow animal horn. Gua Sha is also a traditional home health technique that it is utilized throughout Asia and the rest of the world for various issues. In a pinch it can be preformed without lubricant using any hard tool, most commonly a large coin. This method can be painful and is not well tolerated by most western people. However because of the ease of the technique and the general ease of access to the materials used in Gua Sha, this is an easily learned technique for home health that can be used for a variety of conditions and complaints.

Treats Many Ailments

While most often used for musculo-skeletal pain and respiratory disorders like the common cold and flu’s, Gua sha can also be used for a large number of other techniques as well. For example, gua sha treatment protocols exist for digestive problems and insomnia as well. Similar to Cupping, Gua Sha will often leave marks on the body that appear as redness or bruising, and similar to cupping these marks are normal and will disappear within a few days.
While Gua Sha may look or sound painful, when done by a skilled practitioner it should not cause pain or be uncomfortable. Gua Sha has been described as being a relatively more intense treatment than the gentle pull of cupping, but the practitioner should adjust the pressure being used to accommodate the condition and tolerance of the patient.

Also similar to cupping, Gua Sha can be utilized as both a singular treatment method in and of itself as well as being combined with acupuncture to enhance the treatment and increase its effectiveness.

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