Chinese Gua Sha massage appeared around 550 BC. The jade scrapers found by archaeologists are proof of this – they are the ones who perform the therapeutic massage of Gua Sha. By the way, the name is translated as “scrubbing the disease”.
According to Chinese philosophy, in our body, there are 14 special channels, meridians, through which the vital energy of qi circulates. Each meridian supplies energy to a specific organ. Impact with a jade scraper is carried out directly along the meridians and biologically active, or acupuncture points located along with them.
There are three options for Gua Sha massage:
- cosmetic – removes visual defects of the face and body,
- preventive – prevents various diseases and their exacerbations,
- medical and diagnostic – directly identifies and eliminates ailments
Detoxifying the body with Gua Sha massage: is it possible
If you have ever attended a Gua Sha massage session, you will notice that there are small red spots called petechiae that are released right after the tools are passed. These tasks are a sub-substance triggering the cleaning process of the treated area. Thus, it eliminates all dead blood cells that can block the normal flow.
Cellular nourishment occurs because the petechiae produce more blood and oxygen in the treated area, thus nourishing the dead cells. After a series of treatments, the human body organically regenerates and repairs itself, thus creating a wonderfully healthy inner balance.
The positive effects of Gua Sha
- promote blood circulation
- detoxification and acidification
- stimulation of the immune system
- reducing/relieving blockages and pain
- improved functioning of the organs
- regeneration and revitalization
- reduction of tension (stress), fatigue, and burnout
- emotional balance
- relaxation and promotion of clarity of mind
Indications and contraindications for sessions
As we have already said, a course of massage can be taken for preventive purposes: the scraping method activates the production of interferons and enhances cellular immunity. Gua Sha massage also helps with a genetic predisposition to diseases of the musculoskeletal system: the effect on the joints removes accumulated salts and uric acid, thereby reducing the risk of pathology formation. Treatment of gynecological diseases is also a field of application of Gua Sha massage: improving blood circulation in the pelvic area has a beneficial effect on women’s health. Working out the abdominal zone relieves tension, eliminating congestion in the intestines, and has a beneficial effect on the liver. Osteochondrosis, cholestasis, joint and vertebral pains, muscle spasms, vascular diseases – the list of indications can be continued for a long time.
In addition, intense physical activity helps to fight excess weight and get rid of cellulite. Scraping massage is also used in the treatment of acne and post-acne: the scraper “removes” toxic substances and activates tissue regeneration.
Among the contraindications to the use of Gua Sha massage:
- decreased platelet count;
- exacerbation of skin diseases;
- skin damage in the massage area;
- infectious diseases;
- liver dysfunction;
- allergy, especially to the components of oil massage
- poor blood clotting.
- fractures in the healing stage;
The Gua Sha technique
In its tradition, Gua Sha is executed with any object that has a smooth edge with which to rub the surface of the skin. Even objects like spoons or coins. Among those who really admire the technique, however, the buffalo horn is a very popular material for making tools. Resulting in an ideal object with a smooth and polished edge that is durable.
During Gua Sha, with the use of the appropriate instrument, the professional rubs the skin, alternating between short or long movements, in order to stimulate the microcirculation of the soft tissue. This causes an increase in blood circulation. This constant friction pushes blood through the capillaries, bringing a greater flow of blood and oxygen to the tissues.
At first glance, Gua Sha looks a little painful as it sometimes results in red spot marks on the skin, which very much resemble light scratches or bruises. However, the red marks are actually a vascular response called transient therapeutic petechiae. They are caused by increased blood flow and usually disappear within two or three days after treatment.
Gua Sha is usually used for the back, posterior surfaces of the neck, shoulders, buttocks, arms, and legs. But it’s can be used for the abdomen and chest area. In addition, there is also the application of massage oil to the skin to use the tool only then.
Gua Sha is one of the safest forms of therapy available. But that does not mean that it is suitable for everyone. People who take blood-thinning medication or who have any bleeding disorder should not adhere to the technique. Furthermore, it should also not be applied to varicose veins or open wounds.
It is difficult for a person who is far from Chinese philosophy to understand the principles of TCM treatment. Terms like meridians and chi energy can seem strange and almost magical. Therefore, it is very important that the first acquaintance with traditional Chinese medicine takes place under the supervision of a real professional who loves his job and is ready to answer any questions.
Comparing Gua Sha and Cupping
Gua Sha is known to be similar to cupping, for the reason that they both help increasing qi and blood to the area. We perform Gua Sha by using a tool in a repetitive motion firmly across tight muscles. It helps with breaking up knots and adhesions within the muscles.
Also, it allows blood and the qi to restart providing nourishment to the area. Gua Sha can be used instead of cupping in places that are harder to reach such as the sides of the neck and nape. It is the best massage technique to use for treating headaches.
Cupping is a traditional therapy method and it can be found in many different cultures. During cupping, plastic or glass cups are used to suction onto the client’s body. The aim is to increase the flow of qi and blood through the body. In order to release tension and adhesions in the tight muscles, we slide the cups along them. Cupping can pull toxins or stagnation from the client’s body through their skin. For the treatment of cold disease, cupping on the upper back area can be very effective.
Although Gua Sha and cupping are new in Raleigh, they are getting very popular among Raleigh massage clients.