What is gua sha?
Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation(1).While records of gua sha usage started emerging in the Ming Dynasty, it is still a commonly used TCM technique today(5). This ancient Chinese healing technique may offer a unique approach to better health(1). 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(1).Practitioners have found it helpful for alleviating pain as well as increasing circulation and energy flow(5). Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing(1).
Gua sha is most often used to relieve muscle and joint pain. Practitioners claim that gua sha can benefit the immune system and reduce inflammation. Sometimes, gua sha is used to treat a cold, fever, or problems with the lungs. Small injuries to the body, such as the bruises caused by gua sha, are sometimes known as microtrauma. These create a response in the body that may help to break up scar tissue.Microtrauma may also help with fibrosis, which is a buildup of too much connective tissue when the body heals(3).
What are the benefits of gua sha?
Gua sha helps to promote blood circulation,also promote lymphatic drainage and may reduce inflammation(1,5), 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(1). From Cosmetic application, facial Gua Sha may improve fine lines and wrinkles.(5)
Gua sha may also relieve symptoms of other conditions:
Migraine headaches: The study showed that, some women living with chronic headaches received gua sha over a 14-day period, and their migraines improved.
Neck pain: Gua sha technique may also prove effective for remedying chronic neck pain(1). A 2014 study found that gua sha improved the range of movement and reduced neck pain in people who used computers frequently (4).
Tourette syndrome: Tourette syndrome involves involuntary movements such as facial tics, throat clearing, and vocal outbursts. According to a single case study, gua sha combined with other therapies may have helped to reduce symptoms of Tourette syndrome(1).
Perimenopausal syndrome: Perimenopause occurs as women move closer to menopause. Symptoms include: insomnia,irregular periods,anxiety,fatigue,hot flashes. One study, however, found that gua sha may reduce symptoms of perimenopause in some women(1,4).
Breast fullness: In one study, women who were having trouble breastfeeding because of breast fullness got gua sha treatment while they were in the hospital and for a couple of weeks after they went home. Those women saw their pain ease and they were eventually able to breastfeed more easily(2).
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