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Gua Sha (pronounced “Gwa-Sha”) is one of the oldest components of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Gua, in Chinese, means “friction” or “to rub.” Sha means “sand.” In total, Gua Sha treats congestion of blood at the surface of the body by using a specialized tool that is gently rubbed over the problem area.
The Gua Sha tool has a smooth edge and is placed against the skin, which has been pre-oiled with therapeutic oils. The practitioner then pushes down firmly and moves the tool along the surface of the skin and down the muscles, often referred to as “tribo-effleurage” (friction-stroking) or along the pathway of the acupuncture meridians.
This practice is used to release muscle tension, tightness and constriction. If the muscles are ischemic, then nourishment cannot flow into them and waste products cannot flow out. For example, Gua Sha removes lactic acid from overused muscles, accidents, stress, tension and trauma and also promotes normal circulation to the muscles, tissues and organs directly below the surface being treated.
Patients typically feel immediate sense of relief and change to their condition.
It is important to note that Gua Sha can cause extravasations of blood from the vessels into surrounding tissue, and may result in sub-cutaneous blemishing. This typically fades in just a few days. The color of the “sha” gives the practitioner clues as to the severity of the health condition.
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