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Have you heard of Gua Sha

Have You Heard of Gua Sha?

 Gua sha is one of several non-needle tools in an acupuncturist’s arsenal. It’s often used in combination with needles, but gua sha is a therapy in its own right. Gua sha is an East-Asian technique of scraping or stroking the skin using a device made of metal, bone, or horn. The scraping can be done on various parts of the body, and most often it’s done on the back and neck.

Here are answers to some commons questions about gua sha.

 What can gua sha help with?                                                                                              Gua sha can help with pain, inflammation, symptoms of cold, flu, asthma, nausea, and vomiting. It also boosts the immune system. If you come down with a cold or flu, be sure to see your acupuncturist right away for acupuncture and gua sha! Dr. Arya Nielsen, who is considered to be the Western authority on gua sha, says it is good for “any chronic disorder involving pain or inflammation.”

 Why do people get marks from gua sha?                                                                        

It’s important to know that the marks made by gua sha are not bruises.  The sha part of gua sha refers to red or purple dots that appear on the skin after it is scraped. The dots are blood being released from blood vessels in the innermost layer of the skin. A trained acupuncturist will do gua sha until reddish dots start to appear. Once the dots come up, they’ll move to a different area. The color of the marks gives a lot of information. Purplish dots indicate a higher degree of blood stagnation in the body. Stagnation commonly causes pain, so often, people who come to acupuncture complaining of severe pain end up with purple dots from gua sha. If the color of the dots is a bright red, it may represent heat in the body. If dots come up easily, it means that the disease is acute. If it takes a long time for the dots to show, it means the disease is more chronic. The marks from gua sha treatments usually disappear within a few days.

 What does gua sha feel like?                                                                                                 Gua sha, when done by a properly trained acupuncturist, is not painful. In fact, many people say gua sha treatments feel like getting a massage. You may experience symptom relief in as little as one treatment. Cold symptoms are especially responsive to gua sha. With longstanding pain or illness, it may take several treatments to feel a change—just like with acupuncture treatments.

From Acutake website (Denise Cicuto)