Things You Must Know About Gua Sha – A Traditional Chinese Medical Treatment

In addition to Chinese tea, we here at Weight Loss Teas like to report on other health related topics that we think our audience would find beneficial. For this article we would like to focus on Gua Sha, an easy scraping method of the skin that when performed is able to extravasate blood from clogged areas in the body. Sounds complex, but in reality can be easily down with a number of homemade appliances, allowing for symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or chest tightness to disappear.

  1. What is Sha?

According to Dr. Yingu Lin, an internal medicine physician from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Sha is de facto a unique sign, a representation of the diseases in the body. What it is called Gua Sha, sometimes named Zhua Sha or Cuo Sha, literally means scrape, pinch, lift and squeeze a certain part of human body with fingers or other tools. By making extravasated blood shown on the skin, it aims to rebalance your body and bring it back to the normal state.

  1. Why Gua Sha?

The theory of Gua Sha is to firstly find and stimulate the special reaction points or acupoints related to a certain disease, and then the energy is distributed by main and collateral channels to increase the circulation of blood and flow of lymph, allowing muscles and peripheral nerves to get more nutrition. The whole body gets refreshed, and the immune system is strengthened.

  1. How to do it?

Dr. Lin noted that Gua Sha is used on about a hundred diseases, and often used to cure heat strokes in the summer in addition to getting rid of colds, headaches and dizziness. Gua Sha is usually applied on the body parts including back, neck, chest, and limbs. When you are doing it by yourself, you can scrape along with both sides of neck, or from the seventh cervical vertebra along the antisternum to the fifth lumbar vertebra, up to down. Or you can also scrape between ribs from inside to outside, and do remember not to do it back and forth or scrape randomly.

  1. How Much Force?

Many people think the more pain you feel, the more effective it is. It is because of those misconceptions that some people scrape as heavy as they can, and will not stop until they see extravasated blood on someone’s back. Dr. Lin emphasizes that whether Sha shows up depends on one’s physical condition. Everyone is different. The redness shown on the skin when you scrape heavily is probably a sign of broken capillaries or skin injuries.

  1. What tools should you use?

You can use many kinds of tools, such as the back of a comb, a ceramic cup, bowl or spoon, a coin, or scrapping plates made of buffalo or antelope horn. The point is to make sure the edges of the tools are blunt and smooth so that it doesn’t hurt your body. If you don’t have any tools by hand, you can just bend your fingers to be a scraping plate, or directly use them to pinch, lift, squeeze and press.

  1. Preparation:

Before you do Gua Sha, you can apply a layer of water, olive oil, or lotion on your skin to better protect your skin.

  1. How often do you do it?

According to Dr. Lin, there is no limitation of time or space for Gua Sha. Avoid doing it too frequently but do it every 3 to 5 days if need be. It is not appropriate to do Gua Sha on your face, bones or any inflamed area. Moroever, don’t scrape too hard when your stomach is empty.

You have to do it in a ventilated space with fresh air. After you finished the process, wipe the oil and sweat on the skin and then take a cup of warm water. Take a break afterwards.

Dr. Lin also pointed out that Gua Sha is a physical therapy applied at the early stage of a disease. And it can be used to cure small diseases such as heat stroke, dizziness, or muscle aches for convenience. But you’d better go to see a specialist afterwards in case there are more serious problems.

Dr. Lin also suggests, when you are doing Gua Sha for other people, you need to keep checking if they are feeling well. If they feel uncomfortable, you need to stop right away. Let them sit or lie down, and drink some warm water. Go to see the doctor if necessary.

Who shouldn’t Use Gua Sha?

According to Dr. Lin, Gua Sha is not for every one. It will stimulate the autonomic nerves and therefore, people who have weak or sensitive constitution, will look pale, have cold sweat, or even shock during the process. This group of people need to be extremely careful when they Gua Sha. In addition, as the skins of elderly and kids are more fragile, we need to do it more tenderly, or put a layer of cotton on their skin before you do it. In this way, it can prevent skin injuries caused by the tools.

Dr. Lin suggests that Gua Sha is not suitable for the following groups of people, who are old, have sensitive skins, cardiovascular disease, leukemia, allergic purpura, thrombocytopenia, cancer, dermatitis, or have any cuts or scars on the skins. Also, women during menstrual period or pregnancy should avoid scraping their hypogastrium.