Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gua Sha


Two more mysterious words I have not heard of. However Gua Sha is a very good Chinese medical modality. It is simple to and straight forward to see if it is warranted and usually gets fast results. I use it often in my practice when I come up against a stubborn problem or a bad cough. I wrote about gua sha somewhat more extensively back in February of 2007. Here is a shorter version.

What is Gua Sha? Well it is defined by Arya Nielsen the doyenne of Gua Sha in the United States as Gua meaning to rub or friction and Sha meaning the congestion of blood at the surface of the body. When the gua is applied to the sha it allows the sha to surface and be released from the body.

OK so you are now more confused than ever. Sounds like mumbo jumbo to you doesn’t it? So here it is in plain English. Gua Sha like other Chinese medical modalities seeks to balance the qi (energy) by moving qi that is stuck. Any time qi does not move the body is opened up for problems.

What kind of problems can Gua Sha work on? Well, I like to use it for bad coughs that just won’t go away. I also like to use it for tight muscles that are resistant to other techniques.
Gua Sha can be safely and effectively done on children and adults of all ages. Be warned though the immediate surface skin reaction can be quite alarming to view. I can assure you that although it does not look attractive it does not hurt or impinge on any movement.

Inside China, Gua Sha is widely practiced and if not in the cities then in the outlying provinces. Here in the United States it much less known, but a gem of a tool for any acupuncturist to have in his/her “toolbox”. One of my massage teachers once told me, “You will learn about and acquire many techniques which can’t all possibly be used on every patient. You can’t use a hammer for every job, nor a screw driver, nor a saw. You must choose the appropriate tool for the job. When the situation presents itself pick up and use the correct tool for the patient before you.” In my practice, Wholistic Family Healthcare that tool may be acupuncture or massage therapy, or gua sha, or Chinese herbs or cupping or electro-acupuncture.

At Wholistic Family Healthcare, located in Silver Spring, MD nearby to Washington, DC we view each patient as a Whole person and treat the patient with this holistic approach. It is the reason behind our success.

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