Gua sha is a natural method to reduce inflammation rooted in Chinese medicine that includes a ceramic spoon, metal cap with a rounded edge, or jade formed into a round-edge instrument. In recent years, in addition to rolling with either jade or rose quartz, skincare enthusiasts have encouraged us to add them to our self-care regimens. What's often left out of the conversation is that Gua sha is an effective tool on our entire bodies, and not just our faces.
A few months ago, I came across Tiffany Haddish having a Gua sha tool used on her neck by a licensed Gua sha massage therapist called Tha Muscle Whisper. The comedian was seen being scraped to eliminate the build-up and lactic acid in her body. Instantly, I was intrigued because of the inflammation that was running rampant throughout my own body.
I'm currently on a weight loss journey and when I reached my halfway point, I started to run and incorporate HIIT workouts into my weekly routine. About two months into my workout regimen, I had unbearable pains in my legs, and upon visiting the doctor, I discovered that I developed tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendon caused by repetitive use or injury. My body wasn't ready for the righteous workouts that I had started to enjoy, and my doctor recommended that I explore physical therapy––and injections.
I was confident that physical therapy would help, but months in, I was still in excruciating pain. My daily commute to the city had me walking a lot, and for the treatment to work, I'd have to spend hours a day off my feet so my therapist recommended that I'd consider cortisone injections.
A month into the injections, I realized that it was a short-term fix, and I wanted to fight this holistically. I researched massages, doctors, and nothing spoke to me the way Gua sha did.
I had a FaceTime call with Jackie, Tha Muscle Whisperer, and she and I worked to tackle the inflamed areas of my body that I'd been searching for relief in. The next morning, I woke up with bruises––but days later, I felt so much relief and I now scrape at least two times a month.
Finding deeper relief from Gua sha scraping has empowered me to explore healing in multiple areas of my body where pain and trauma lived. Often we don't realize that our body holds onto pain just as much as we do, and now I turn to Gua sha instead of any over-the-counter medicine.
Here's what I've learned since using body Gua sha healing:
Why Gua Sha Works
The root word of Gua sha, Gua, comes from traditional Chinese medicine and is often referred to as scraping. The motion used causes tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin called capillaries to burst and creates red or purple bruises. Gua sha is used to eliminate lactic acid, and inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin's surface allows for practitioners to improve blood circulation, break up fascia, and promote healing. While facial Gua sha scraping is used to improve wrinkles, and de-puff our faces, body Gua sha scraping is often used solely to reduce pain.
What Gua Sha Can Help To Eliminate
Gua sha can help eliminate muscle tightness, pre-menopausal pain, inflammation, breast engorgement, cellulite, knee pain, migraine headaches, carpal tunnel, arthritis, and repetitive strain injuries.
What To Expect After Gua Sha Treatment
When it comes to post-Gua sha treatment, you can expect bruises and soreness in the body. The marks itself will go away within a few days but to give yourself relief, apply ice to the inflamed area.
Body Gua Sha VS Face Gua Sha
The strokes that are used in scraping for the face are milder, in comparison to body scrapes as they are a bit more intense, and typically oil is applied to the area. But do not let the pain deter you from the healing that will take place in the aftermath, it's the best pain I've ever felt.
You Shouldn’t Scrape If You:
- Have medical conditions affecting the skin or veins
- Bleed easily
- Take medication to thin their blood
- Have deep vein thrombosis
- Have an infection, tumor, or wound that has not healed fully
- Have an implant, such as a pacemaker or internal defibrillator
(Via Medical News Today)
How To Find A Gua Sha Massage Therapist
While many people (especially during COVID-19) are practicing self-healing, it's recommended to only seek out a licensed Gua sha massage therapist.
Our bodies hold inflammation, pain, and trauma in certain areas consistently. Before going to receive an injection or over-the-counter pills, consider this holistic method and be empowered to explore an alternative to healing.
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