Literally meaning “scratching or scraping” in Chinese, gua sha is a pleasing technique that, like cupping, creates heat on the skin deliberately to help eliminate pain. As with cupping, Gua Sha is used where there is pain, heat and/or stagnation. Also as with cupping, patients find this technique pleasant.
On skin coated with medicinal ointment or cream (like Traumeel®), a porcelain or ceramic tool passes over the painful or tight area, creating a very bright red reaction. Afterwards, tight areas feel much looser. Superficial blood vessels may break during this process, making a bruised appearance, but it is not painful, and resolves in couple of days. Patients usually appreciate some immediate relief from tight-type low back pain.
This technique may be safely taught to family members for use in the home on those who do not have skin or bleeding issues.
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