What is Gua Sha?
What Are the Health Benefits of Gua Sha?
Researchers have shown that gua sha causes a dramatic increase in circulation in the soft tissues under the skin. The benefits seem to occur after blood is brought to the surface of the body during treatment. As the body reabsorbs this blood, it breaks down hemoglobin, triggering the production and release of HO-1 and its catalysates: bilirubin, biliverdin, and carbon monoxide. These potent chemicals fight infection, inflammation, and a number of other diseases.
By boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation, gua sha practitioners help those in their care cope with various conditions, including:
- Pain and stiffness
- Fever and chill
- Neck and back pain
- Flu and bronchitis
- Migraine headaches
- Allergic inflammation
- Asthma, coughing, and wheezing
Gua sha also heals chronic and acute conditions involving internal organs. It can help organ transplant patients avoid rejecting their transplants and fight certain autoimmune disorders.
In 2011, researchers from Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital found even a single gua sha treatment had a positive effect on people who suffered from hepatitis B (which causes liver inflammation and degradation).
What Can You Expect from Your First Gua Sha Session?
A typical treatment may only last 10 minutes and so a perfect add on to your Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture session. Your practitioner will start out by palpating (touching) your skin to see if there’s any “sha” (blood stagnation) present. Then, they will lubricate your skin with an oil to minimize abrasion.
Be sure to tell your practitioner about any painful areas you want to treat. Remember, they may not treat this part of your body; it may be better to treat an associated meridian (body energy channel).
Some force is applied during a sessions, and you should tell your practitioner if you experience too much discomfort. Red marks may appear on your skin after a session, but should go completely away within a few days. A gua sha session should leave you feeling invigorated and energized.