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Gua Sha Therapy



An ancient Chinese secret, Gua Sha therapy is still practiced by many Chinese today. You may ask, "What is that?" Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha is a "reddish, elevated, millet-like skin rash' (aka petechiae). Sha is the term used to describe Blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue before and after it is raised as petechiae. Gua Sha is one technique that intentionally raises a Sha rash or petechiae. It is a traditional ancient Chinese healing technique that dates back over two thousand years.

This ancient method of promoting "qi" or bioelectric vital life energy and blood circulation as well as the removal of toxic heat, stagnant blood and lymph fluid from the body is an extremely important, almost miraculous method of improving one's health. "Qi" is the constant and vigorous movement of energy or life force that keeps us healthy and alive.

Do you suffer from chronic pain? Excess systemic toxicity? Poor circulation? Lymphatic congestion? Inflammation? Fatigue? Infections? Physical or emotional stress? If so, then you will greatly benefit from Gua Sha treatment.

Gua Sha is used regularly by practitioners and laymen in health care facilities and homes throughout China. The method of applying Gua Sha involves the layering of Gua Sha oil on the skin. This oil is enhanced either with healing herbs or essential oils chosen to aid the extraction of toxic waste. The skin is then scraped in the area of discomfort or at times on the entire body using a specific Gua Sha tool depending on whether the treatment is for physical or emotional healing.

Gua Sha treatments are not painful. As the body is scraped it pushes a build-up of fluid ahead of it, and after it passes, it leaves an indention or vacuum behind which draws toxic fluid out to the surface of the skin from deep within the tissue. The toxic fluid (Sha), floods to the surface and can be seen in small red, deep purple or green pools of blood, it is also often hot on the area that the toxic heat is extracted. Red spots are an indication that toxins are being released. Where the area is deep purple the blood is old and extremely stagnant. A dark green discoloration is a sign that stagnant blood and toxic "qi" are being released from the system.

Sometimes a clear fluid will draw to the surface in a form that resembles cellulite or goose bumps. Where the skin starts out with a green glow, which then turns red during the treatment, is a sign that pain or stagnant "qi" is being removed. The exposing of the Sha is literally removing disease from deep within the system.

In Chinese forms of healing, there are three types of bad "qi". The first type is dead "qi", which refers to the stagnation of blood that has been in the body for a very long time without being released. The means the system is suffering from oxygen deprivation. Dead "qi" is very harmful as it can encourage the growth of cancer cells. Remember, cancer is anaerobic and cannot survive where oxygen is plentiful. The second type of bad "qi" is stagnant "qi". This is caused by conditions such as lack of exercise, chronic heart, liver, kidney, spleen and lung problems and from obesity. The stagnant "qi" is always associated with pain in various parts of the body. The third kind of bad "qi" is toxic "qi", this is where waste products or toxic residue accumulates in the system and when left untreated can result in very serious health problems.

Gua Sha creates suction on the skin that pulls stagnant intercellular fluid to the surface, removing toxic debris, and replacing it with fresh oxygenated, nutrient rich fluid, which in turn accelerates regeneration and revitalizes the region where cancer cells may or already have manifested.

Unlike acupuncture, Gua Sha treats not only the meridian system but the entire system as well. This is why the Chinese utilize Gua Sha as their foremost treatment in the prevention of disease. Gua Sha can be used to treat, alleviate and heal chronic degenerative diseases, migraines, chronic neck, shoulder and back pain, bone spurs, strains and sprains, menstrual disorders, insomnia, heart disease, hypertension, vertigo, sinusitis, ear and eye disorders, chronic infections, sciatica, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, neuralgia, asthma, cysts and tumors, carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, digestive disorders, muscle aches, breast pain, varicose veins, skin disorders, blood disorders and liver, spleen, kidney, bladder, pancreatic stress and much more. If you are suffering from any of the these ailments, then it is time to do something beneficial for yourself and experience Gua Sha and its advantages firsthand by making an appointment with a practitioner and getting yourself on the road to recovery.

-- FAQs

When is Gua Sha used?

Gua Sha is used whenever a patient has pain associated with an acute or chronic disorder, or when there is an aching, tenderness and/or a knotty feeling in the muscles. Palpation reveals Sha when normal finger pressure on a patient's skin causes blanching that is slow to fade. In addition to resolving muscular skeletal pain, Gua Sha is used to treat and prevent the common cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma, as well as any chronic disorder involving pain, congestion of qi and Blood.

Where is Gua Sha applied?

Sha is raised primarily at the Yang (positive) surface of the body: the back, neck, shoulders, buttocks, and limbs. On occasion, Gua Sha is applied at the chest and abdomen.

How is Gua Sha applied?

The area in question Gua Sha is lubricated with oil. The skin is then rubbed with a round-edged instrument in downward strokes. An area is stroked until the petechiae that surface are completely raised. If there is no Blood stasis the petechiae will not form and the skin will only turn pink.

What kind of instrument is used to Gua Sha?

A soupspoon, coin, or slice of water buffalo horn is used in China. A simple metal cap with a rounded lip works best and is by far the most comfortable for the patient.

What does the type of Sha indicate?

The color of the Sha is both diagnostic and prognostic. Very light colored Sha can indicate blood deficiency. If the Sha is fresh red, it is of recent penetration. If the Sha is purple or black, the blood stasis is long-standing. If brown, the blood may be dry. Dark red Sha can indicate heat.

How fast will the petechiae fade?

The Sha petechiae should fade in 2-4 days. If it is slower to fade, indicating poor Blood circulation, the practitioner must ascertain whether it is a blood deficiency, Qi or Yang, a deeper stagnation or organ deficiency.

What are the benefits of Gua Sha?

In most cases the patient feels an immediate shift in their condition particularly pain relief or increase movement. Gua Sha moves blocked Qi and blood, releases external sweating, and moves fluids. In modern medical terms, these fluids contain metabolic waste that has become congested in the surface tissues and muscles. Gua Sha promotes circulation and normalizes the metabolic processes. It is a valuable treatment for both external and internal pain, and facilitates the resolution of both acute and chronic disorders.

Is Gua Sha safe?

Gua Sha is a completely safe technique, but it is serious medicine. Knowing when to use it and what to expect from treatment is as important as good technique. People who live with chronic pain often create emotional defenses to cope with it or can feel completely hopeless. Having that pain 'touched' and relieved can be unsettling, even shocking. It is good to be moderate in activity after treatment, even rest. Remember after treatment no drugs, alcohol, sex, fasting, feasting or hard labor, including working out, for the rest of the day. In other words, mellow mode.

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