5/22/2013



Gua Sha is an ancient medical treatment that is still widely used by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is used even more widely as a "folk" technique, by Chinese, as a preventive or remedial treatment.

It is also widely used in Indonesia. It is a traditional Javanese technique, known as kerikan and it is very widely used, as a form of "folk" medicine, upon members of individual households.

The Gua Sha technique

Gua Sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. Commonly a ceramic Chinese soup spoon was used, or a well worn coin, even honed animal bones, water buffalo horn, or jade. A simple metal cap with a rounded edge is commonly used.

In cases of fatigue from heavy work a piece of ginger root soaked in rice wine is sometimes used to rub down the spine from head to tail.

The smooth edge is placed against the pre-oiled skin surface, pressed down firmly, and then moved down the muscles -- hence the term "tribo-effleurage" (i.e., friction-stroking) -- or along the pathway of the acupuncture meridians, along the surface of the skin, with each stroke being about 4-6 inches long.

This causes extravasation of blood from the peripheral capillaries (petechiae) and may result in sub-cutaneous blemishing (ecchymosis), which usually takes 2-4 days to fade. Sha rash does not represent capillary rupture as in bruising, as is evidenced by the immediate fading of petechiae to echymosis, and the rapid resolution of sha as compared to bruising. The color of sha varies according to the severity of the patient's blood stasis -- which may correlate with the nature, severity and type of their disorder --appearing from a dark blue-black to a light pink, but is most often a shade of red. Although the marks on the skin look painful, they are not. Patients typically feel immediate sense of relief and change.

Practitioners tend to follow the tradition they were taught to obtain sha: typically using either gua sha or fire cupping. The techniques are not used together.

Video provided courtesy of www.massagnerd.com

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