The Advantages and Disadvantages of Skin Scraping (Gua Sha)

Skin scraping is a Chinese traditional therapy that is used in order to dredge the channels and activate blood circulation to dissipate blood stasis in the body. Skin scraping can dilate blood vessels, increase sweat secretion, and promote blood circulation. It has great effect on treating hypertension, heat stroke, and muscle aches. Doing skin scraping once a while can channel the Qi (energy) in your body, relieve body fatigue and improve immune function.

Preventive Health Care

Skin scraping applies theory of twelve meridians and eight extra channels in human body, and follows the principle of. It stimulates the main and collateral channels, makes parts of the body enter hyperemia so as to refresh the body, removes toxins and body heat, relieve pains and strengthens the spleen and stomach.

The major functions of skin scraping are first preventative health care, and second therapeutic effects.

In terms of the preventative part, it helps prevent diseases, as well as prevents diseases from deterioration. Chinese medicine believes that the function and health of skin relies mainly on the Wei Energy in the body. Wei Energy comes from the Upper Energizer, pushed by the energy from the lung, and runs under the skin. When the Wei Energy runs smoothly, then the skin can protect the body well. For healthy people, doing skin scraping sometimes on acupoints such as Back Shu and Zusanli is good for strengthening the Wei Energy. The stronger the Wei Energy is, the less susceptible the body is to get sick. If someone is experiencing or feel like there are coming down with a cold, fever, rhinobyon and rhinorrhea, doing skin scraping on acupoints including Feiyu, Zhongfu in time will help get rid of the exogenous pathogens, thus preventing them from spreading into the viscera and causing illness to spread.

Therapeutic Effects of Skin Scraping

  1. Promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis

Skin scraping helps reconcile the contraction and relaxation of muscles, improves blood circulation, and helps remove blood stasis.

  1. Balancing Yin and Yang

Skin scraping balances Yin and Yang of viscera. For example, for people whose peristaltic movement is too fast, applying skin scraping on the abdomen and back helps to slow it down. Conversely, for those whose peristaltic movement is too slow, skin scraping can help speed it up and bring it back to normal. It implies that skin scraping can improve functions of viscera and balance Yin and Yang in the body.

  1. Relaxing Tendons and Dredge Collateral Channels

Muscle insertion and damaged soft tissues on fascia, ligaments and joint capsules can send pain signals, which through reflex of nerves makes the muscles retract and be nervous till convulsion. It is a natural reflection of human body to relieve pain by reducing physical activities. When this happens, if one doesn’t treat it in time and thoroughly, the damaged tissues may develop to be adhesion, fiber, or scarification, which will continuously generate harmful impulses, worsen the pain and muscle contraction, and cause more lesions on nearby tissues. It is like a vicious circle.

Clinical experience has shown that whenever there is pain, there is muscle tension; and vice versa. Skin scraping relieves the pain, and thus relieves muscle tension. When the muscles are relaxed, the pain and pressure will disappear thereafter, and it helps the body to recover.

How does skin scraping kill the pain and relieve muscle tension?

  1. It improves circulation and increases temperature.
  2. It increase the threshold of pain in certain parts by stimulating the part with tools such as scraping boards.
  3. It is about the connections between tension or spasm meridians and twelve skin divisions.

The divisions of twelve skins are based on the location of twelve regular channels. These channels have their own main and collateral channels, which are running on the skin and have their own domains. Twelve skin divisions correspond to twelve regular channels. The six channels of hand and foot are called the six skin divisions. The collateral channels are related to the skin divisions, whose relations to the channels are of huge importance to diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

  1. It helps to exchange signals.

Every visceral organ in the body has its unique bioinformation (its inherent frequency, bioelectricity etc.), which will change when any lesions occur in the organ. The changes of bioinformation in organs influence the balances and functions of the whole body system.

The theory of skin scraping is to generate new bioinformation by stimulating some certain parts of the body surface. When the organ accepts the bioinformation of lesions, it will adjust the relevant parts and try to bring everything back to normal. Apply stimulation on Neiguan acupoint helps to improve blood circulation in the arteria coronaria, prolong left ventricular ejection time, enhance cardiac contractility of patients with angina pectoris, as well as increase coronary blood flow and oxygen supply. Apply skin scraping on Zusanli acupoint is good for improving the immune system and the functions of pituitary and adrenal medulla.

  1. It removes toxins.

Skin scraping causes hyperemia in a certain part where vascular nerves are stimulated and result in anapetia. It increases the circulation of blood and lymph, whose power of phagorytosis and carrying is strengthened, and thus removes waste and toxins from the body more rapidly, bringing more nutrition to the histocyte. Blood is purified, the immune system is improved, and it is better for the body to recover from diseases.

  1. It invigorates body energy and blood.

The circulation of body energy and blood (through the channel system) is essential to the health of the human body. Skin scraping applied on the body surface aims to dredge channels in the body, and furthermore improves the circulation of body energy and blood. In this way, any blood states or blocks in the channels will be removed, and pain in a certain part will be alleviated.

Modern medicine believes that skin scraping causes hyperaemia in a certain part where capillary vessel expands, and the blood circulation is increased. On the other hand, the stimulations of skin scraping improve vasomotoricity and permeability of vessel walls. Doing skin scraping is a process of blood capillary from dilation to burst, which forms bleeding spots on some parts of the skin that disappear as autologous hemolysis starts. It generates a new stimulin that promotes local metabolism and diminishes inflammation.

Disadvantages of Skin Scraping and Contraindications

Skin scraping is normally applied on the back or either side of the neck. Sometimes it can also applied on both sides of the larynx and spine, chest, arms, or knees.

Skin scraping is not appropriate for the following cases:

  1. People who are too thin or whose skin has lose elasticity;
  2. People with heart diseases;
  3. Patients with edema;
  4. People with bleeder disease or bleeding tendency;
  5. Children and elderly people
  6. Abdomen, nippled and lumbosacral of pregnant women;
  1. People with leukemia or thrombocytopenia;
  2. People with renal failure, ascites due to cirrhosis, or wevere systemic edema.
  3. For people with varix of lower limb, the direction of skin scraping should be from the bottom to the top, and it should be done very lightly.
  4. Any parts of body with fester, injury or inflammation; people who are in, or just recovered from a several illness; who are in poor health, or who have full or empty stomachs.

Skin scraping should be done no more than 1 time every 5-7 days.