Gua sha is a method used in traditional E. Asian medicine. It is mainly used to treat tension and muscle pain, but there has been inadequate research into how well it functions. We discover more about whether gua sha is helpful and if it has any demerits.
Gua sha is intended to move energy, known as chi or qi, around the body. The treatment requires using a tool to stroke the skin in long strokes, adding enough pressure to give minor bruising.
Gua sha may help to break connective tissue and scar tissue, improving location in the joints. The therapy does not have any graveside effects but is not good for those with certain medical issues.
How It Works
Gua sha is the technique of using a tool to mount pressure and scrape the skin to ease tension and pain. This action triggers light bruising, which always appears as red or purple spots known as sha or petechiae.
The name gua sha (which is pronounced “gwahshah”) originates from the Chinese word for “scraping.” It may also be termed skin spooning, scraping, or coining.
As per traditional Chinese medicine, chi or qi is energy that circulates through the body. Many folks believe that a folk’s qi must be well balanced and circulating freely to ensure their wellbeing and health.
People also nurse the belief that qi may become blocked, causing tension or pain in the joints or muscles. Gua sha moves this blocked qi to relieve stiffness or aches.
Traditional E. Asian medicine also views stagnation or blood stasis as a cause of illness and pain. Another objective of gua sha is to move stagnated or pooled blood to relieve symptoms.
Some physiotherapists use a version of the method called IASTM (instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization). Using a tool in place of the hands during a massage lets a physiotherapist apply additional pressure.
What are the Benefits of Gua Sha?
Gua sha may reduce inflammation, so it is often used to treat ailments that cause chronic pain, like fibromyalgia and arthritis, and also those that trigger muscle and joint ache.
Some of the benefits involve the following;
Gua Sha raises circulation and boosts lymphatic function, resulting in a naturally glowing, dewy complexion. The action of mildly scraping the Gua Sha device across the skin helps in serum/moisturizer product penetration to allow those juicy phytonutrients (plant nutrients) to go deeper into the layers of skin for more hydration. Gua Sha can also be utilized to combat and clear acne, skin decongestion, and inflammation lessening.
For Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a viral attack that causes liver scarring and inflammation. Research claims that gua sha may lower chronic liver inflammation.
A case study followed a man with a high level of liver enzymes (indicating liver inflammation). He was served gua sha, and after 2 days of treatment, he experienced a drop in liver enzymes. This leads researchers to suggest that gua sha can boost liver inflammation, thus lowering the likelihood of liver damage.
The edges of various Gua Sha stones work beautifully to sculpt, lift, and tighten the skin. Regular use may prevent the symptoms of aging like dull, sagging, and wrinkled skin. Since Gua Sha aids stimulate circulation, the method itself oxygenates and conveys nutrients to the skin cells. The raised blood flow resulting from Gua Sha adds to a livelier, youthful, and plumped-up appearance.
Migraines and Headaches
If your migraine doesn’t respond to OTC medications, gua sha may assist. In a study, a 72-year-old woman with chronic headaches received this therapy over two weeks. Her migraines got better during this time, proving that this ancient curing technique may be an effective cure for headaches. More research is therefore needed on this.
Treats Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome includes involuntary movements like throat clearing, facial tics, and vocal outbursts. As per a single case study, gua sha, together with other therapies, may have assisted in lowering signs of Tourette syndrome in the study participant.
The study included a thirty-three-year-old man with Tourette syndrome since the age of 9. He got acupuncture, gua sha, herbs and modified his lifestyle. After 35 once-every-week treatments, his signs improved by 70%. Even though the man had positive findings, further research is still needed.
Perimenopause happens as women approach menopause. Symptoms are:
Another study, however, found that gua sha may lower symptoms of perimenopause in some folks.
The study involved 80 women with perimenopausal symptoms. The treatment group received 15-minute gua sha therapy once a week together with conventional therapy for two months. The control group received only conventional therapy.
At the end of the research, the intervention group had a greater reduction of signs like insomnia, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, and hot flashes compared to the placebo (control group). Researchers claim gua sha therapy might be a secure, effective cure for this syndrome.
The lymphatic system is your body’s trusted bouncer. It is a section of your immune system, which helps circulate good nutrients and WBC (infection fighters) all through the body while also sieving out waste products such as proteins, bacteria, and excess water via lymph fluid.
Breast engorgement is an issue experienced by many breastfeeding folks. This is when breasts get overfilled with milk. It usually happens in the first weeks of lactation or if the mother is far from the infant for any reason. Breasts may become painful and swollen, making it very difficult for babies to handle. This is often a temporary condition.
In a study, women were given gua sha from the next day after childbearing up until the period they leave the hospital. The hospital had a follow-up with these women some weeks after childbearing and found that most of them had fewer reports of breast fullness, engorgement, and distress. This made it more comfortable for them to breastfeed.
Gua sha method may also prove helpful for remedying chronic neck pain. To discover the effectiveness of this therapy, 48 studies volunteered participants were split into two main groups. One group got gua sha, and the other got a thermal heating pad to cure neck pain. After a week, participants who got gua sha reported reduced pain when compared to the group that did not receive gua sha.
If you breastfeed, your boobs might be overfilled with milk. This might make them inflame and get painful. In a study, women who had difficulty breastfeeding due to breast fullness got gua sha therapy while they were still present in the hospital and for some weeks after they left for home. Those women had their pain eased, and they were ultimately able to lactate more easily.
We have so much tension in our neck and face. Mounting a deep pressure with a Gua Sha stone can get into muggy knotted areas to ease held muscular tension, thus allowing muscles to perform their supportive roles properly. You will experience drastic ease of tension with Gua Sha, often incorporated into your healthcare routine. This can be a wonderful tool for headache and TMJ patients. Relaxing our facial muscles often also put off and fades light expression lines.
Gua Sha can also be used to clear blockages in the meridian channels that connect our organs and convey both blood and qi (life force). Our channels require being clear to work agreeably and for chi to flow well all through the body. If an organ is well functional, the route could be blocked – and vice versa. We can wipe off the channel of blockages by scraping away the Gua Sha tool along with it. Gua Sha also imparts a truly overall effect on the body. This manual progress stimulates our lymphatic system, helping our organs work optimally by breaking up flowing debris, stagnation, and toxins in the body for easier expulsion.
Side Effects and Risks
Gua sha causes tiny blood vessels close to the surface of the skin known capillaries to burst. This gives the distinctive purple or red bruises, known as sha.
The bruises often take a few days or even weeks to heal and maybe tender while healing. Some folks can take an OTC painkiller, like ibuprofen, to help with pain and lower swelling.
A folk should protect the bruised parts and be careful not to bump them. Applying an ice pack to the site can help to lower inflammation and lower any pain.
Gua sha professional should not pierce the skin during the therapy, but there is a high risk it could happen. Broken skin raises the possibility of infection, so a gua sha professional should always sterilize their gears between treatments.