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Performing Gua Sha at Home

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 1/25/2011

Gua sha is a simple treatment, which may benefit some chronic physical complaints. Practice gua sha at home on others or on yourself. Learn the simple gua sha technique as well as some important health informaion.

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    Gua Sha Basics

    Pronounced gwa shaw, gua (scrape) and dha (blood that rises to just below the skin's surface) is a holistic Asian treatment. These treatments release blocked energy (Qi), the cause of various ailments. It is used for muscle pain, migraine headaches and signs of toxins. Using a scraping tool such as the lid of a jar or a spoon, Gua sha is easily performed at home and is completely safe. Westerners do not commonly practice it because the treatment causes a rash-like condition.

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    Diagnosis

    Determine if gua sha is indicated for the ailment in question. Complaints include headaches, sluggishness, or low emotions. Check for blocked qi (chee). Firmly palpate the muscles, feeling for muscle tension. If, when you release pressure on an area, you see a white patch that slowly returns to normal skin color, this is an sign of poor circulation. Perform a treatment to promote healthy circulation. If a person is sunburned, has other surface skin conditions (including acne or moles), or has recently experienced a fracture, do not perform this treatment. Only licensed practitioners should treat pregnant women.

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    Gua Sha Treatment

    Gua sha technique is simple. A tool is firmly pressed to the skin and dragged downward at the site of the complaint in approximately five-inch straight strokes. As you drag the instrument down the affected area, you will notice that the skin reddens. This is the distinctive sha, for which the treatment is named. As far as treatment is concerned, this is all there is to it. The reddened area (sha) is the site of released toxins. Sha indicates healing and, in time, the ailment will subside.

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    Important Comments

    Note the different colorations that can occur and know what the colors indicate. Redness means that toxins have been successfully released and are at the skin's surface. Purple indicates old blood that has stagnated. Dark green is toxic energy as well as old blood. If the area glows greenish and turns red, it indicates pain. Colorations can signifiy healing. However, there are indicators that signify serious illness. Signs of stagnant qi point to oxygen deprivation, due to unhealthy lifestyles. Stagnant qi is toxic and can lead to very serious physical conditions, including cancer. Consult a healthcare professional immediately in this event.

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