Understanding Gua Sha: Benefits and Side Effects
What is gua sha?
Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation. This ancient Chinese healing technique may offer a unique approach to better health, addressing issues like chronic pain.
In gua sha, a technician scrapes your skin with short or long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. They make these strokes with a smooth-edged instrument known as a gua massage tool. The technician applies massage oil to your skin, and then uses the tool to repeatedly scrape your skin in a downward motion.
Gua sha is intended to address stagnant energy, called chi, in the body that practitioners believe may be responsible for inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
Gua sha is generally performed on a person’s back, buttocks, neck, arms, and legs. A gentle version of it is even used on the face as a facial technique. Your technician may apply mild pressure, and gradually increase the intensity to determine how much force you can handle.
What are the benefits of gua sha?
Gua sha may reduce inflammation, so it’s often used to treat ailments that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as those that trigger muscle and joint pain.
Gua sha may also relieve symptoms of other conditions.
HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES:
1. Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, liver damage, and liver scarring. Research suggests that gua sha may reduce chronic liver inflammation.
One case study trusted Source followed a man with high liver enzymes, an indicator of liver inflammation. He was given gua sha, and after 48 hours of treatment, he experienced a decline in liver enzymes. This leads researchers to believe that gua sha has the ability to improve liver inflammation, thus decreasing the likelihood of liver damage. More research is underway.
2. Migraine headaches
If your migraine headaches don’t respond to over-the-counter medications, gua sha may help. In one studyTrusted Source, a 72-year-old woman living with chronic headaches received gua sha over a 14-day period. Her migraines improved during this time, suggesting that this ancient healing technique may be an effective remedy for headaches. More research is needed.
3. Breast engorgement
Breast engorgement is a condition experienced by many breastfeeding women. This is when the breasts overfill with milk. It usually occurs in the first weeks of breastfeeding or if the mother is away from the infant for any reason. Breasts become swollen and painful, making it difficult for babies to latch. This is usually a temporary condition.
In one study trusted Source, women were given gua sha from the second day after giving birth up until leaving the hospital. The hospital followed up with these women in the weeks after giving birth and found that many had fewer reports of engorgement, breast fullness, and discomfort. This made it easier for them to breastfeed.
4. Neck pain
Gua sha technique may also prove effective for remedying chronic neck pain. To determine the effectiveness of this therapy, 48 study participants trusted sources were split into two groups. One group was given gua sha and the other used a thermal heating pad to treat neck pain. After one week, participants who received gua sha reported less pain compared to the group that didn’t receive gua sha.
5. Tourette syndrome
Tourette syndrome involves involuntary movements such as facial tics, throat clearing, and vocal outbursts. According to a single case study trusted Source, gua sha combined with other therapies may have helped to reduce symptoms of Tourette syndrome in the study participant.
The study involved a 33-year-old male who had Tourette syndrome since the age of 9. He received acupuncture, herbs, gua sha, and modified his lifestyle. After 35 once-a-week treatments, his symptoms improved by 70 percent. Even though this man had positive results, further research is needed.
6. Perimenopausal syndrome
Perimenopause occurs as women move closer to menopause. Symptoms include:
One study trusted Source, however, it found that gua sha may reduce symptoms of perimenopause in some women.
The study examined 80 women with perimenopausal symptoms. The intervention group received 15-minute gua sha treatments once a week in conjunction with conventional therapy for eight weeks. The control group only received conventional therapy.
Upon completion of the study, the intervention group reported a greater reduction of symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, and hot flashes compared to the control group. Researchers believe gua sha therapy might be a safe, effective remedy for this syndrome.
Does gua sha have side effects?
As a natural healing remedy, gua sha is safe. It’s not supposed to be painful, but the procedure may change the appearance of your skin. Because it involves rubbing or scraping the skin with a massage tool, tiny blood vessels known as capillaries near the surface of your skin can burst. This can result in skin bruising and minor bleeding. Bruising usually disappears within a couple of days.
Some people also experience temporary indentation of their skin after a gua sha treatment.
If any bleeding occurs, there’s also the risk of transferring blood-borne illnesses with gua sha therapy, so it’s important for technicians to disinfect their tools after each person.
Avoid this technique if you’ve had any surgery in the last six weeks.
People who are taking blood thinners or have clotting disorders aren’t good candidates for gua sha.
When conventional therapies don’t improve your symptoms, research suggests that gua sha may be able to provide relief.
This technique may appear straightforward and simple, but it should only be performed by a licensed acupuncturist or practitioner of Chinese medicine. This ensures a safe, proper treatment. More research is needed, but there are few risks associated with this massage technique.
Whomever you choose, make sure that person has a certification in gua sha. The certification confirms they have basic knowledge of this healing practice. Using a professional improves the effectiveness of the treatment and reduces the risk of pain or severe bruising from excessive force.
we do a super Delux session with Cupping & Guasha,
and here is a great article on Guasha
now before we talk about Cupping, IN OUR NEXT SECTION SCROLL DOWN,
check out our Guasha Gallery of pics we found talking about it online
What is cupping?
Cupping is a type of alternative therapy that originated in China.
It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The suction may facilitate healing with blood flow.
Proponents also claim the suction helps facilitate the flow of “qi” in the body. Qi is a Chinese word meaning life force. A famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong, reportedly first practiced cupping. He lived from A.D. 281 to 341.
Many Taoists believe that cupping helps balance yin and yang, or the negative and positive, within the body. Restoring balance between these two extremes is thought to help with the body’s resistance to pathogens as well as its ability to increase blood flow and reduce pain.
Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.
People use cupping to complement their care for a host of issues and conditions.
What are the different types of cupping?
Cupping was originally performed using animal horns. Later, the “cups” were made from bamboo and then ceramic. The suction was primarily created through the use of heat. The cups were originally heated with fire and then applied to the skin. As they cooled, the cups drew the skin inside.
Modern cupping is often performed using glass cups that are rounded like balls and open on one end.
There are two main categories of cupping performed today:
Dry cupping is a suction-only method.
Wet cupping may involve both suction and controlled medicinal bleeding.
Your practitioner, your medical condition, and your preferences will help determine what method is used.
What should I expect during a cupping treatment?
During a cupping treatment, a cup is placed on the skin and then heated or suctioned onto the skin. The cup is often heated with fire using alcohol, herbs, or paper that’s placed directly into the cup. The fire source is removed, and the heated cup is placed with the open side directly on your skin.
Some modern cupping practitioners have shifted to using rubber pumps to create suction
versus more traditional heat methods.
When the hot cup is placed on your skin, the air inside the cup cools and creates a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle upward into the cup. Your skin may turn red as the blood vessels respond to the change in pressure.
With dry cupping, the cup is set in place for a set time, usually between 5 and 10 minutes. With wet cupping, cups are usually only in place for a few minutes before the practitioner removes the cup and makes a small incision to draw blood.
After the cups are removed, the practitioner may cover the previously cupped areas with ointment and bandages. This helps prevent infection. Any mild bruising or other marks usually go away within 10 days of the session.
Cupping is sometimes performed along with acupuncture treatments.
For best results, you may also want to fast or eat only light meals for two to three hours
before your cupping session.
What conditions can cupping treat?
Cupping has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It may be particularly effective at easing conditions that create muscle aches and pains.
Since the cups can also be applied to major acupressure points, the practice is possibly effective at treating digestive issues, skin issues, and other conditions commonly treated with acupressure.
A 2012 review of studiesTrusted Source suggests cupping therapy’s healing power may be more than just a placebo effect. The researchers found that cupping therapy may help with the following conditions, among others:
Cupping Articles galore are all online but check out this one.
we also have a FACIAL CUPPING session available, and one of our favorites at home.
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