Gua Sha

Gua Sha, pronounced (“gwa shaw”) literally translates as “to scrape for Cholera.” A common modality used by traditional practitioners in China (Gua Sha), Vietnam (Cao Yio), Indonesia (Kerikan) and Laos (Khoud Lam). Over time, more modern applications have developed since its use during the Cholera epidemics of Asia.  Classical practice suggests the use of the rounded edge of a traditional Chinese ceramic soup spoon, a smooth piece of jade, or water buffalo horn. The skin is prepared by applying oil, liniment or salve such as Tiger Balm to the affected area and then the tool, is pressed into the skin and scraped along a 6 inch area, typically along an Acupuncture meridian or an area of chronic or acute pain and injury. The area (s) are scraped until a blush or reddened hue emerges. The degree of discoloration is often an indicator to your practitioner of the level of congestion and stagnation of chi or vital energy. The discoloration can range from blush to deep purple depending on the level of chi and blood congestion and can appear as a bruise from 2-7 days before fading. The longer chi isn’t moving in the body the better the chances are that imbalance and disease have of becoming entrenched. Even the most ticklish people find the treatment relaxing!

gua sha with soup spoon
gua sha with soup spoon

What can Gua Sha treat?
Muscles of the neck, shoulders, back, and limbs are areas commonly treated because of their susceptiblity to muscle tension, pain and fatigue, indicating stagnation of blood and chi circulation. The scraping technique speeds up sluggish circulation, releases heat, and reduces stiffness and pain. The discomfort of acute and chronic musculo-skeletal injuries like sprains, strains and muscle aches are also quickly relieved by this modality. Historically, Gua Sha was used to reduce the fever associated with Cholera, but now the list of complaints has been expanded to include symptoms of the common cold, bronchitis, asthma, headache, digestive, musculoskeletal injuries, gynecological disorders, and post partum treatment of low back and posterior pelvis.

**** Gua sha can be a stand alone treatment (30minutes) or it can be part of your Acupuncture treatment session.