What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha is a method of treating using instruments to assist in the mobilization of soft tissues. Gua Sha improves blood flow, breaks up scar tissue and knots and, restores range of motion giving you fast relief. I often follow up Gua Sha with Myofascial Release therapy. The benefits of Gua Sha go even further than the physical though.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, our ‘chi’ is the energy that flows through our body. Many people believe that a person’s ‘chi’ must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure their health and well-being. People also believe that ‘chi’ can become blocked; causing pain or tension in the muscles and joints.
Gua Sha aims to move this blocked energy to relieve aches or stiffness.
How is Gua Sha Performed?
I use a version of the technique known as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). Using a tool instead of my hands during a massage allows me to apply more pressure to scrape the skin to relieve pain and tension. This ‘scraping’ technique causes light bruising, which often appears as purple or red spots known as petechiae or sha.
What Can Gua Sha Treat?
Gua sha is most commonly used to relieve muscle and joint pain like back pain, a strained tendon, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Small injuries to the body like the bruises caused by gua sha create a response in the body that may help to break up scar tissue. It may also help with fibrosis, which is a buildup of too much connective tissue when the body heals. I normally use gua sha alongside other treatments, such as stretching and strengthening exercises.
Interestingly, a 2017 study of weightlifters found that after Gua sha treatment, they felt that lifting weights took less effort. This could suggest that the treatment speeds up muscle recovery.
Another study showed the benefits to be longer lasting than a hot pack when treating back pain.
Looking for a non-narcotic, natural way to feel better and more flexible? Call me now to schedule an in-home consultation.