Gua sha is one of the lesser known forms of treatment used in Chinese medicine, but it is one of my favourite techniques. It is simple, painless and helpful for a myriad of conditions.
The overall effect of Gua sha is to bring movement and flow to areas which, because of tension caused perhaps from improper posture or injury, have become limited in their mobility and therefore stagnant. Once blood flow and proper movement are returned to these areas, pain is lessened and mobility is increased.
Gua Sha uses a special tool (sometimes made of stone, animal horn, porcelain or metal) which is dragged over the skin until ‘sha’ or redness is achieved. The sha colour which arises indicates that the muscular tension and lack of blood flow which has been causing pain or tension has been released.
The main function of Gua Sha are:
X To dredge the channels. Gua Sha stretches tissues along the planar boundary of the muscle. In doing so, chemical and mechanical signals are kickstarted within the connective tissue matrix, triggering a healing response in the muscle.
X To vent heat. Gua sha causes an increase in blood flow to an area which conducts heat out of the body. This excess heat may be caused by inflammation or increased metabolic activity. As excess heat stress in the body may reduce cerebral blood velocity, the reduction of heat may help to calm the mind and decrease issues associated with inflammation.
X To releases to the Exterior. Gua sha mimics sweating in the body. It can prevent the onset of illnesses like the common cold or speed the recovery of an existing cold or flu.
X To Resolve Blood Stagnation. Blood stagnation happens when their is an inhibition or constriction of movement in a muscle, causing blood flow and return to become sluggish. Gua Sha helps to reduce vasoconstriction from tight muscles, expunging the ‘stuck’ blood from the area and flushing it with fresh, oxygenated blood to help repair and rejuvenate the muscle tissue.
On top of this, Gua Sha is deeply relaxing and many patients report deep and restful sleep after their Gua Sha treatments.