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Gua Sha Spooning

Gua Sha is typically performed by rubbing a smooth-edged instrument across the skin surface where a subcutaneous injury or imbalance resides. When treatment is effective, distinctive reddening of the skin, known as sha, is observed. This is a positive response and brings the immediate and lasting benefit of dispelling wind, reducing heat and inflammation, eliminating coldness, and releasing pain from the superficial and deeper levels of the body.

What is Gua Sha (Spooning)?

Gua Sha, also referred to as Spooning, is an ancient Chinese medical practice. This alternative Chinese healing technique is widely used in Asia by practitioners of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). When used in accordance to the TCM philosophy, the Gua Sha technique will dispel the ‘Yang’ type pathogens such as Heat, Wind and Fire, from the meridians. Blood is then encouraged to flow more easily through the vessels, hence effecting a cleansing action of the body.

When is Gua Sha used?

Typically, Gua Sha is very effective for treating all forms of:

  • muscle and tendon injuries
  • urinary and gynaecological disorders
  • fibromyalgia
  • muscle and tendon injuries
  • heat syndromes (sunstrokes, heat syncope and nausea)
  • headache and dizziness
  • chills and aches
  • joints stiffness, pain and immobility

In classical Chinese medical practice, Gua Sha is extremely useful in the treatment and prevention of acute infectious illnesses, upper respiratory health conditions (such as, the common cold, flu, asthma and bronchitis), digestive disorders, and many other acute or chronic disorders.

The Gua Sha healing technique provides a drug-free relief for the back, neck, leg and shoulder pain.

Where is Gua Sha applied?

Primarily Gua Sha is applied to the Yang surface of the body: the back, neck, shoulders, buttocks and limbs. On occasion, Gua Sha is applied at the chest and abdomen. Chinese liniment, oil balm or massage oil is applied to the skin area. In cases of fatigue from heavy/manual labour work a piece of ginger root soaked in rice wine can also be used to rub down.

How is Gua Sha applied?

Gua Sha tools with a smooth edge, such as jade, honed animal bone, horn or more commonly, a ceramic Chinese spoon is used to apply repeated pressured strokes over the lubricated skin and the underlying tissues, and hence the Chi of the meridians through the acupoints.

The Gua Sha tool should be held at a 30 degree angle to the skin, with the smooth edge touching the skin, rubbing in downward strokes and using moderate pressure. Stroke down from the neck and out towards the arms. On the back, strokes should be made away, and down, from the spine and pelvis, then down the legs.

What to expect from the Gua Sha treatment?

Manipulation with the Gua Sha tool will raise a reddish rash, called petechiae. Only one area should be done at a time and, as soon as the petechiae raise, move on to the next area. The Sha petechiae should fade in 2-4 days. However, Gua Sha should NEVER be applied over moles, cuts, open wounds or unhealed areas.

What are the benefits of Gua Sha?

With the Gua Sha treatment, the patient will feel an immediate shift in their health condition, particularly in their level of pain or sense of constraint. Gua Sha moves the stuck Qi and blood, thereby promoting the movement of fluids along in the body. These fluids contain metabolic waste that clogs up the surface tissues and muscles. Gua Sha will elevate the circulation and normalises the metabolic processes. It is an important treatment for both external and internal pain, and facilitates the resolution of both acute and chronic disorders.

It has been said that “if there is illness, Gua Sha treats it; if there is no illness, Gua Sha strengthens the body”.