Do you have stubborn aches and pains in your body that have simply not responded to your previous and current treatment efforts? Are you seeking a non-invasive manner of relief that will allow you to move freely and comfortably again? If so, then you should strongly consider visiting a certified acupuncturist for Gua Sha treatments.
The history of gua sha traces back thousands of years and is one of the tools used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. Over time, the practice spread throughout Asia and is now becoming better known in the West. In China, the practice of Gua Sha is often practiced in the home. Self-treatments are common and mothers may utilize it to assist their children when ill.
What Is Gua Sha?
The practice of Gua Sha is generally performed by an acupuncturist though you may find other TCM practitioners who are trained to perform this medical treatment. Depending upon the location of your pain or other symptoms, the practitioner will determine the appropriate areas of your body to treat.
A liberal amount of olive, coconut or similar oil is applied all over and around the treatment area. Then, with the use of a special Gua Sha tool, the practitioner rubs and scrapes the skin. The motions are made from the inside to the outside of the body so that a stroke would go from the knee to the ankle and not the other way around.
The instrument has a very smooth surface so as to not puncture your skin during the strokes, which are quite intense. The techniques used may involve long or short motions and will exert significant pressure on your skin and the tissues beneath.
How to Prepare for a Treatment?
The treatment is non-invasive however as your skin surface will be scraped, it’s important to take note of a few things:
- Avoid tanning for several days prior to your appointment.
- Schedule your appointment understanding that the treated area may be discolored for a few days. You may not want to have it done a day before a pool party!
- Areas with open sores, moderate to severe acne, wounds and other skin troubles cannot be treated.
- Discuss your medical history with the practitioner. Reveal and current or past conditions and any surgical procedures or other scar tissue that you have had. Take copies of any x-rays, nerve tests or related medical documents to your consultation appointment.
During Your Gua Sha Session
You will have a private room for your treatment where you will be treated privately. The person performing the session may have gentle music playing, utilize aromatherapy or otherwise utilize calming sensory input during your session.
An incredibly generous amount of a natural oil is then applied to your skin. It is far more than what is used during a massage, so do not be surprised. This is to ensure that the tool absolutely glides smoothly during your treatment. However, if you don’t like the messy oil, TrainedTo has created a balm that is much cleaner whilst still allowing the tool to slide smoothly over your skin.
If done right, Gua Sha should not hurt. It may look painful, but the red marks are just toxins being released and not bruises. If bruises are created, then it is being done incorrectly.
The stroking motions stimulate the movement of blood and lymph fluids and are incredibly useful in flushing toxins from the tissues. You will feel the energy stimulation and cleansing during the usual half-hour session.
In TCM, it is believed that this scraping technique releases “cold winds” from your body. Tight and achy muscles are associated with this imbalance. With subsequent visits, you will experience less discoloration and heal more rapidly.
What to Expect Afterwards?
You may feel very tired and relaxed when you leave because your body has finally released pent up energies. Alternatively, some leave energized and is different for each person. What is common for everyone though are lots of bright red spots on the treated areas, so take note of this!
It is important that you consume plenty of water in the days following to aid in toxin removal. This will reduce the amount that resettles in your body. For maximum benefits, eat plenty of fresh produce as well.
Finding a Qualified Gua Sha Practitioner
The fastest method to find an acupuncturist who practices the Gua Sha treatment is through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Some people choose to learn how to perform Gua Sha themselves. There are many tutorials available online though you need to be aware of incorrect information being presented. You can learn how to do this if there is not a practitioner near you or if you cannot afford the services.
Though it may take a few visits for complete relief of your symptoms, Gua Sha is an effective TCM to aid in restoring your energy balance and overall health.