WHAT: In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the word “Gua” means to scrape and “Sha” has three meanings.
1.”Sha” from a TCM point of view, refers to the blood stasis or stagnant blood and qi that blocks the meridian pathway that can affect proper flow of energy and blood.
2. From the western medicine point of view, it refers to the fluids that contain metabolic waste that has accumulated in the tissues and muscles.
3. “Sha” can also be described a series of reddish, minute hemorrhages that look like a red colored speckled rash. This is called petechia than can surface to the skin after a Gua Sha treatment.
WHY: In TCM, blood stagnation is considered to cause many diseases. The Gua Sha scraping technique can release the body of blood stagnation. By letting your body get rid of this old stagnant blood, new and healthier blood cells can be created. Once your body releases excess waste, it can then allow your new cells to efficiently absorb more nutrients.
When Gua Sha is used in a massage, it quickly releases blockages in your body that has been caused by stagnant blood. It actually mimics sweating and promotes circulation of your body fluids. By doing so, it helps to normalize cellular metabolic processes and release toxic waste from your deep cellular tissues. As your blood and qi circulation increases, it helps to oxidize your cells as well as to nourish them.
In Chinese and Western studies Gua Sha has been found to alleviate or prevent headaches & migraines, common cold, flu, fever, bronchitis, asthma, as well as any other chronic disorders that involve the congestion of blood and qi. Additionally Gua Sha been show effective for treating heat / sun stroke, insomnia and memory loss, depression, PMS, impotence, blood pressure issues, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, skin disorders, as well as joint stiffness and daily aches & pains. As an added bonus, many clients comment they look five years younger after facial Gua Sha!
How: Gua Sha is performed during a massage so each area is first massaged with oil. A chosen area of the skin is then stroked in a downward motion at a 30 degree angle, using a smooth edged tool. This tool is traditionally made from water buffalo horn or jade. At NAMTI Spa our massage therapists use jade tools, which are sanitized thoroughly after each use.
The continued scraping may create petechiae / sha / reddish spots, streaks or bruises. If these do occur it is a sign of detoxification and the sha usually fades within 2 to 4 days. With repeated Gua Sha treatments, the sha will start to fade faster which will be a good sign since it’s an indication of better blood circulation.
After a Gua Sha session it’s recommended to take it easy the rest of the day, perhaps taking an epsom salts bath and also drinking lots and lots of water, as the body’s lymphatic system & detoxifying have been activated. This will help your body eliminate toxins released during the treatment.
Gua Sha is one of the safest, easiest and most natural ways to release build up of toxins in your body and allow nutrients in for a stronger and healthier physical, emotional and energetic body! You can purchase a Gua Sha tool after your session at NAMTI and continue the benefits at home!