The Origin of Scraping Therapy

In addition to tea culture, Qigong, Taichi and many other ancient practices in China that were developed throughout the ages, skin scraping is another kind of practice that helps the body stay rejuvenated. It is by far one of the easiest and most straight-forward techniques that Chinese doctors still use until this day. However, where did this practice come from? While the exact details are hard to know some parts of Chinese history sheds light onto its developments.

Scraping Therapy dates back to the Paleolithic Age, when sick people tended to stroke or hammer a certain part of their body by hand or stone. Sometimes this lessened their pain. Through long-term development and gradual accumulation of knowledge, a healing method using stones formed. Stoning is the burgeoning technique of later-day acupuncture and Scraping Therapy. It is fair to say that Scraping Therapy is another form of Stoning Therapy.

In the course of history, Scraping Therapy failed to develop systematically as a discipline; instead, it spread among the people.

In the Qing Dynasty, Wang Ting wrote in the prologue of his book “The Swelling Fever,” “First the folks sensed the fever with manure, then they dipped coins into oil and scraped (the swollen part).” However, only women treated patients this way, as distinguished doctors knew better.”

Initially, the indication of Scraping only includes the fever syndrome. Early records can be found in Song Dynasty physician Wang Song’s book The Malaria Theory, where he described it as “pick grass seed.” Yuan Dynasty physician Wei Yilin also describes the fever syndrome as “abdominal crams, cold sweat, swelling, and nausea.”

In Ming Dynasty medical books, the authors followed Wei’s argument, but turned the character “sand” (the second character of “gua sha” which means skin therapy) into “fever.” For example, Zhang Fengkui in his Summer Injury Book records instances of a “twisted bowel fever.” Qing Dynasty (under the rule of Emperor Kangxi) physician Guo Youtao assembled all the previous records and laid the foundation for future fever treatment. In The Swelling Fever he points out that “patients who experience vomiting and diarrhea first most likely got the fever from bad smells; those who experience heart cram and then diarrhea most likely got it from the summer heat; patients who feel faint nausea and phlegm cementation more likely got the disease from exposure to extreme heat; patients swelling all over and experiencing stiff limbs, numb tongues and cold most likely got the disease from the winter cold.”

The Swelling Fever divides the disease into several categories: fever, nausea, fever Jinkou bow down fever, horn bow fever, flapping goose fever, colds and coughs measles, chicken pox and measles before inflation and other 45 kinds of measles. Syndromes like steam inflammation can be traced to climate factors such as smoldering heat, sporadic rain and strong sunshine. While the disease is very prevalent in summer and autumn, it is rare in winter.

There are two main features of the fever disease: a fever point and soreness.

The main symptoms of the fever disease are confusion, depression, fatigue and numbness. At times the patient feels as if plunged into ice water. The body part that inhales the air is swollen, and after consuming food the patient suffers from indigestion.

Instructions on treating the fever disease indicate that we should “dip the coin into sesame oil and scrape under the spine neck, the flanks of the chest, two back shoulders and the arms. For the head and the legs we should use cotton yarn dipped into oil. For parts as soft as the belly, you should rub them with salt.”

Books on the treatment of the Fever Disease proliferated in Qing Dynasty. They include Gui’s Warm Wet Fever, Chen Yanxiang’s Sunstroke Fever Disease Therapy, Han Lingxiao’s Fever Prevention Therapy, Wang Kai’s Fever Syndrome Book, Shen Jin Ao’s Burning Fever Disease in 49 Days, Wang Shixiong’s “Anging Feet Fever Certificate “,” Fever Twisted Bowel Syndrome” and dozens of monographs.