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Gua Sha (刮痧)
Gua Sha (刮痧)- literally "rub/scrape sand" or "to scrape away fever" is also known as ‘coining’ - due to the common use of coins for this technique in Asia. Gua Sha is the therapeutic use of friction applied with a blunt edged hand tool to the skin, either over muscle tissue, joints or specific acupuncture channel pathways. Cupping and Gua Sha are cutaneous techniques which encourage circulation of blood, lymph and Qi and the removal of metabolic waste in the skin and superficial muscle tissues. Gua Sha "Clears Wind and Heat" from the surface (skin, superficial connective tissue, & muscle layers) and "Dredges Qi and Blood" in the Channels & Collaterals to treat various painful conditions - especially muscle, tendon, ligament, & connective tissues disorders, sports injuries - and is used to enhance the immune response when fighting colds & flu.
Gua Sha tools may be made of plastic, porcelain, stone (often jade), and even animal horn or bone are traditionally used. Various sizes and shapes accommodate differing needs and anatomies.
Practically, the tool is rubbed or scraped with the addition of a thin layer of oil or balm (we prefer coconut oil for it's scentless and anti-inflammatory properties) on the affected areas or channels. This causes mild extravasation of blood from the peripheral capillaries and may result in sub-cutaneous blemishing (ecchymosis), which, depending on intensity and duration of treatment will fade in minutes to days. The color of sha varies according to the constitution and nature and severity of pathology, appearing from a dark blue-black to purplish to light pink, but is most often a shade of light red.
The sensation of Gua Sha is memorably strong - many also find it feels similar to certain massage techniques - and a treatment leaves one feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.