What is Gua Sha?
Monday I received my new Sidekick Muscle Reliever (huh?). It’s a fancy way of saying I got a stainless steel muscle scraper that uses the foundation of the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach of Gua Sha. I am very excited to have gotten it and when I posted about it, a lot of you guys seemed exited as well! Awesome! But I figured I needed to start at the beginning to explain what Gua Sha was first. So, let’s dive in!
What is Gua Sha?
It is scraper therapy. Back in the good old days of Ancient China, the tool would be small and typically made of bone, jade or ceramic. It would have rounded edges and the practitioner would scrape at areas that they deemed had “stagnant energy “. This stagnant energy would be responsible for increasing inflammation and leading to chronic pain. They believed that scraping at this area in a downward motion would move the energy along and decrease inflammation that might be occurring in that spot.
Today, we do much of the same thing, even the tool materials are the same. However, for those not practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine, instead of having the goal of moving stagnant energy, we use it to promote circulation in an area to help break down scar tissue, decrease inflammation and help with overall chronic pain.
Now, why use a metal tool, such as the one I got in the mail on Monday? It’s heavier. If I have to get to deeper tissue, I now get to use less force because the tools weight will easily go into the tissue. It’s also bigger. This allows my whole hand to grip onto a part of the tool and it allows me to have more control of how much force to use and where to direct that force. The larger “handle” is also great when using it on yourself, especially at your neck, because you don’t have to overstretch your one arm to reach the opposite side of your neck. It’s also extremely easy to clean and disinfect.
After using the scraper tool on my neck for a few minutes on Monday, I felt the pressure at the base of my skull release and it was amazing. If this is something I can provide for myself (yay, self-care!), then I’m very excited to see what it does for my clients.
Gua Sha – another tool added to my Massage Therapy toolkit.
Keep moving and stay dynamic,
Here’s a bonus picture of Georgie, because I forgot to bring it back home from work yesterday to show myself using it.