Gua Sha (aka: 'scraping', 'the spoon treatment')
Gua Sha can be a startlingly effective method for resolving long-standing muscle-pain problems. It has been used for centuries in China, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to treat conditions, such as:
- muscular pain
- myo-fascial restriction
- post-trauma syndromes
- immune dysfunction
Gua Sha is also known as ‘Scraping’, ‘Spooning’ or ‘Cupping’ and a similar technique, known as ‘Venduzas’, is practised in Traditional Greek Medicine. Modern western Chiropractic utilises the technique under the pseudonym of ‘The Graston Technique’.
Gua Sha is considered to be an adaptogenic technique and facilitates the restoration of normal function of the muscles, fascia and immune system. Gua Sha is used to clear areas of stagnation from the muscles and connective tissue to stimulate healing and to allow fresh blood and nutrients to flow properly again.
The term Sha refers to Stagnation of Blood in the tissues of the body and had been translated as: “Sand-sickness” or “Sediment” in the flesh. Sha is different to simple muscular tension, because the condition is usually more chronic or long-standing and will not resolve with standard massage techniques. A practitioner skilled in Palpation or ‘touch diagnosis’ can identify Sha by the characteristic changes in the texture of the flesh that occur due to the deposition of metabolic wastes. The presence of Sha can be felt as toughness, tightness, grittiness or knots within the muscles and connective tissue. A western-trained practitioner might also call Sha “Fibrositis.”
Gua Sha is not painful, but it can leave a temporary mark on the skin that disappears completely in 2-4 days. This is a normal and intended side-effect and does not harm the flesh at all. An important fact to note is that: if there is no stagnation of blood, then there will be no mark induced. This can be seen after repeated treatments, when the Sha can no longer be raised in an area previously treated.
The effect is usually immediate relief. People report feeling relieved of pain and stiffness which has been plaguing them for months, or even years. Mobility is rapidly restored to previously trapped muscles and joints, with increased flexibility.