Gua sha is the art of “scraping” tissue to remove blockages. It’s one of those TCM techniques that “hurts so good”.
Blockages can occur in the blood and the lymph system - so if they aren’t taken care of, it can lead to disease + reduction in healing ability. Gua sha benefits those who have pain, sickness, sinus congestion, plugged ears, headaches, migraines, physical tension, reduced range of motion, knotted muscles, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, scar treatment, chest tightness, and a feeling of restriction.
With a previous ten years experience in massage, I have never seen a technique work as quickly or effectively as gua sha. Patients feel relief immediately. Those with chronic pain love the feeling of the treatment and love the instant relief.
What happens during a gua sha treatment?
A tool made of plastic, stone, or metal with a rounded edges is used to press + scrape against the skin in a rhythmic motion. Sound painful? Well, it can hurt a bit, but the pressure can be adjusted to your comfort level + I promise it will be all worth it.
Your skin will turn pink where the tool is applied. If the tissue is healthy, it will stay pink. If there are blockages in the blood, petechiae will rise. Petechiae are tiny spots that indicate old, dead blood that needs to be circulated out. Different colored spots indicate different problems:
- If your spots are a fresh red color, this indicates a recent problem.
- If your spots are dark or purple, it indicates the problem has been long standing.
- If the spots are brown, it can indicate a lack of nutrients in the blood.
- If you have dark red spots appear, this means you have heat/inflammation in the area.
Then what? You send me out the door looking like road kill?
The pressed areas may be a little tender but don’t worry - this will dissipate. Your spots will fade away in about 2-3 days. If it takes longer to fade, this would indicate a circulation problem, for which acupuncture, herbs, cupping, and gentle movement will help.
After your treatment, you’ll want to REST + keep the freshly treated area covered. We don’t want your muscles to contract from exposure to the elements and stagnate the area once again, so you need to protect it for a bit.
You’ll want to drink plenty of water and tea to ensure you are well hydrated. Also, make sure to avoid heavy work outs for the next 24 hours (no hitting the gym, no marathon running, etc), but gentle stretching is very helpful. Doing some light yoga or taking a nice walk would help eliminate the toxins further.
Gua sha pairs well with LOTUSWEI’s serums. My favorites for treatments are Fierce Compassion, Wild Abundance + Infinite Love:
- In Fierce Compassion, the rose flower essence + essential oil is cooling + soothing when there’s heat + irritation. It can also be used to soften hardness or when someone is sick.
- Wild Abundance is useful for clearing blockages and bringing a lightness to my patients who are burdened by stress + decision-making.
- I use Infinite Love for those who have neglected their self-care routines and need a little support breaking through old patterns.
Have you ever experienced a gua sha treatment? Do you have any pain or conditions you think would benefit from this kind of treatment?
Come visit us at the SAN Center or leave a note in the comment area if you have any questions!