Gua Sha Therapy – How And Why It Works

A lady with shoulder pain who is waiting for a Gua Sha treatmentThere are many healing techniques used in Thailand, and also across South East Asia. However, some are rather obscure while others are more commonplace. A technique that is not known as much in the West is Gua Sha. Although this method is not as common as acupuncture, herbalism and massage in the USA and Europe, it is extremely common and very popular in Asia.

Gua Sha is usually not a therapy offered on its own. But rather, Gua Sha is more commonly used in conjunction with another therapy such as acupuncture or Tui Na massage. Here we will explain what Gua Sha is and give you an insight into how it might be able to help you.

What Is Gua Sha Therapy?

Gua Sha is an abrasive technique of acupuncture that scrapes the surface of the skin multiple times to help release toxins in the body. Most commonly, when Gua Sha is used it will produce petechiae on the skin. Although the technique is a little uncomfortable and sometimes mildly painful, Gua Sha has been used for centuries and still remains both popular and effective for all kinds of conditions.

Why Use Gua Sha?

When we apply Gua Sha to one of our patients, we are doing several things. First of all, we are helping to release toxins in the system and in the blood that has become stagnant. This is particularly the case with tires and sore muscles. The more toxins that are in the body the more redness appears on the skin during and after a Gua Sha treatment.

During the process, the muscles are replenished with fresh oxygen and will help the body to heal more quickly. We will also use Gua Sha if a parent has been exposed to the elements and has accumulated internal cold, wind, damp or heat.

How Do We Use Gua Sha?

When we are doing Gua Sha we use a blunt and rounded tool like this one, which is made of jade. Often a smooth stone or crystal can also be used for Gua Sha therapy. In the old days, it has also been known for a therapist to use a blunt spoon or even a rounded coin that has no sharp edges.

When applying the technique we first place a layer of massage oil on the area to provide a bit of lubrication and to limit the abrasiveness. We will then take the Gua Sha stone and begin to rub the skin in one direction several times until redness appears on the skin. The more pathogens or toxins that are within needing to come out, the more redness that will appear.

Although this technique may sound painful, it can be a little during the process. However, after the patient will feel invigorated, lighter and more free in the worked areas.

What Is Cupping Therapy And How Can It Help You?

a Chinese medicine practitioner applying cupping therapy to a person's backCupping is a very ancient practice believed to have originated from Indo China thousands of years ago. It is a very primitive form of therapy. However, it’s benefits are still just as effective as they ever have been.

Cupping is also a therapy that is widely practised throughout Asia, and indeed, the whole world. Cupping therapy was also well received and adopted across Eastern Europe and Russia a few hundred years ago.

How Does Cupping Therapy Work?

Cupping therapy works by creating a vacuum with a flame inside a glass cup and then allowing it to attach to a person’s skin with a sucking action. Once applied, the cups are either left in place for a duration or moved up and down the surface of the skin in order to stimulate blood flow and create movement through the muscles and tissues.

In ancient times, pieces of bamboo carved into wooden cups were used for cupping therapy. Nowadays, it is more common that a practitioner uses a cup made out of glass. Some budget cups are also made out of plastic. However, the preference among cupping and Chinese medicine therapists today is that of the glass variety. Cupping is also a commonly used technique among acupuncture practitioners all over the world.

Benefits Of Cupping

cupping therapy on the back of the thighCupping has a variety of uses and benefits. Here are some of the more common uses:

  • To help improve blood flow to an area of the body
  • To help soften and relax tight or stiff muscles
  • To assist with lymph drainage
  • To help remove internal cold or damp from the body
  • To help move stuck bowel matter causing constipation
  • To help remove blood stagnation

The Common Techniques Of Cupping

The practice of therapeutic cupping has several different methods for the application. Here are some of the most common techniques that you may come across:

Stationary Cupping

This method is when cups are left in place on the body in order to create a strong suction in a static spot or position. In this method, the practitioner may apply several cups to a large area, such as the back. This technique may be used in cases of bronchitis, for example, in order to suck out any cold or damp that is left in the lungs.

Slide Cupping

With the technique of slide cupping, a layer of oil is first applied to the back and then the cups are applied on top. In this method, fewer cups are used. The practitioner will then begin to slide the cups back and forth over a specific area in order to stimulate blood flow, break down scar tissue int he muscles and eliminate toxins and trapped wind.

Blood Letting

This form of cupping is fairly common in Asia, but less so in the West. In this method, the practitioner first locates areas of blood stagnation that is resulting in poor health. Once the point is located, the practitioner will prick the skin with a needle in order to draw blood. The cup is then placed on top of the injured area to suck out the stagnant blood.

Using this method sounds brutal, but it has many health benefits once the stagnant blood is removed. When there is stagnant blood, the first few drops that emit from the body are a very dark or even black colour in some cases. The practitioner will leave the cups in place until the blood runs normal colour.

We Are Opening Soon

An acupuncture modelAcupuncture is a profound and fascinating discipline. For thousands of years, people all across Asia have been relying on Chinese medicine as their primary form of health care.

From its primitive beginnings, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have evolved to tremendous heights. Remarkably, acupuncture is now being used in hospitals, in particular in China and is even used in the procedure of open heart surgery. As amazing as this sounds, the technique is used primarily as a means of controlling pain and limiting blood loss during the operation.

While most of us will never have the need for such drastic intervention with acupuncture, the treatment method can be of primary importance and benefit for a wide range of health issues.

Most commonly, people here in the West are utilising this method for help with all kinds of muscular pain, including back, neck and shoulder pain. However, acupuncture can actually be used for far more ailments than just this. For example, people frequently use the treatment for help with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, arthritis, fertility, respiratory issues and much more. Here is an interesting study on the use of acupuncture in treating anxiety and depression.

We will be opening our doors soon so if you are wanting to book a treatment, please bear with us and look out for our updates with our opening times.