There has been a steady rise in the popularity of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM these past few years. You may know acupuncture and Chinese reflexology, but you may never have heard of one healing practice called “gua sha.” Westerners sometimes call it “spooning” or “coining.” Gua sha works by scraping the skin surface in an attempt order to refresh and detoxify the body. While still a bit unknown in the West, gua sha is a very popular treatment in Asia since the results are so amazing and the treatment’s so easy.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, muscle injuries and soreness are basically due to blockages in both chi and blood. It doesn’t matter whether you buy in the notion of chi or not, there’s no question that when you suffer from soreness of the muscle, when you rub the ailing part of your body to boost blood flow, it will help alleviate the pain. This is essentially the idea in gua sha therapy. Treatment begins with a sauna or warm bath, and then the massage therapist will run a special spoon or scraping tool over the ailing area after applying massage oils. The Chinese believe this releases chi, and Western medicine explains this as a release of metabolic waste that has been accumulating in the congested muscles and tissues. The scraping acts like an intense kind of exfoliation that leaves behind redness and marks that vanishes a few days after treatment.
What are the uses of Chinese gua sha therapy?
1. PMS – While gua sha is an excellent form of treatment for tense and aching muscles, it can also be used to treat monthly menstrual pains and aches. Your massage therapist will scrape various areas of your body to ameliorate soreness in your lower stomach through the principles of reflexology.
If you plan to perform this treatment on yourself, talk first to your acupuncturist, or you can use a spoon or purchase a gua sha tool and try it for yourself at home.
2. Head colds – At some point in our lives, illnesses of the upper respiratory tract has afflicted us, often in the cold of winter. One of the best ways to cure a cold is to take a sauna or a hot bath followed by gua sha. Your therapist will run the scraping tool over your shoulders, neck, and upper back to remove fluids that have accumulated in your chest and alleviate congestion. You’ll feel relief afterwards almost immediately!
3. Tired Muscles – if you happen to have a hard day at the office, then you’ll probably experience the dreaded feeling called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) that sets in the next day. The dreadful DOMS is an inescapable side effect especially when you’re trying to get back in shape after a long break. To offset this severe muscle soreness, after a hard work out with lots of water, stretching, and a session of gua sha – eliminate all that lactic acid in your body, and give your new muscles an opportunity to grow! Gua sha is an excellent therapy for all types of muscle fatigue, stiffness, or soreness.
Christina Prieto, AP
1617 Hillcrest St
Orlando, FL 32803