Gua Sha — where East meets West
GuaSha is one of the external therapies of Traditional Chinese Medicine. GuaSha therapy is a special physical therapy where the practitioner exerts force on specific body parts or points with tools or hand manipulation to treat disorders and strengthen the body. It can directly stimulate peripheral nerves, improve local circulation of blood and lymph fluid, speed up metabolism, promote nutritional supply and regulate immune function.
In today’s crazy, fast-paced world, it has become common place to put a lid on our symptoms and chronic complaints with a visit to the pharmacy and a mouthful of quick fix drugs, before rushing back off into the mayhem that is “everyday life”.
Let’s stop and back up for a moment — say… a few thousand years — to a culture steeped in knowledge and tradition.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has not only been used for the treatment of disease and chronic ailments for as many centuries as the Great Wall is long, it’s woven through the rich tapestry that is Chinese daily life.
For the Chinese, you don’t see the doctor and pay him to make you well; you pay him to keep you well.
This philosophy of maintaining constant daily wellness has been slowly trickling in from the east, changing the mindsets and methodologies of western wellness and medical practises. More and more, people are turning away from traditional western medicines in search of achieving full body health and holistic balance within themselves to stave off diseases, rather than relying on synthetic drugs to treat the disease after it’s well and truly set in.
As the saying goes; prevention is better than cure.
This is where TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) comes in. Along with our bodily systems and organs, TCM focuses on re-balancing Qi (our life energy) and its effects on our overall health. Unbalanced or ‘blocked’ Qi can greatly impact the organs and systems located around the afflicted area. This can cause the rise of disease and/or chronic illnesses which, in turn, leads to complete body imbalances and general poor health.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practises release the blockages within our meridians (pathways that carry the flow of Qi), helping to alleviate and treat the afflicting disease or illness. Sore, aching or injured muscles, fatigue, and chronic pain are major indicators of blocked meridians, as well as high fever and fluidly joints and muscles. Techniques such as cupping, moxa and acupuncture all help with the balancing and unblocking of stagnant Qi, along with having many physical health benefits as well – such as pain relief and the removal of excess fluid.
Gua Sha is another one of these techniques that not only works on Qi, but helps to promote micro-circulation within the tissues, drain away excess lymph and fluid, as well as softening the outer layers of the muscles associated with tightness and soreness.
Cold, flu, high fever, fluid retention and many other chronic illnesses and diseases can all be treated with Gua Sha, a technique often using a flat-edged jade stone that is scraped over the skin causing acute redness known as Sha to rise to the surface. Gua Sha literally means scrapping to remove stagnate Qi. This reddening of the skin is the release of stagnant blood —known to be pathogenic— so that it can be flushed away and expelled from the body by its natural elimination processes. Once the area being worked on stops producing erythema (redness), the practitioner moves to another location where the Qi may be blocked in relation to the presented ailment.
Red, purple, brown and even black Sha can be common, indicating different inflammation or deficiencies within the body, and often fades a few days after treatment.
Health concerns are not the only things Gua Sha is used for. In Japan especially, the technique of skin scrapping is used to flush away excess lymph in the face, re-sculpting the contours for more defined, less puffy features. The technique also helps promote collagen, softening fine lines and wrinkles, and stimulates nutrient rich blood flow for overall skin health and radiance.
Incorporated with facials or massage, or even on its own, Gua Sha is an effective, holistic therapy that not only treats acute illness and pain, but also helps maintain whole body wellness in order for us to keep moving at the fast pace life seems to be setting for us.
All Jun Lin Gua Sha treatments are tailored to each individual’s needs depending on illness or ailment, skin sensitivity, and the intensity of Qi blockages.
If you think Gua Sha might be for you, please don’t hesitate in talking to our passionate therapists about this effective, highly traditional, holistic therapy.