Traditional East Asian medicine has been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich and vibrant history. Through the years it has slowly made its way across land and sea and is now becoming prevalent in other parts of the world. Gua sha is one such ancient practice that has long been used across Asia and now is becoming more and more popular in the rest of the world. Gua sha is one component of acupuncture therapy that can also be used in many other medical and therapeutic applications. Research into the practices of acupuncture and gua sha seems to confirm what the people of ancient Asia knew – that there are great health benefits to be gained from these simple homoeopathic remedies. Science and modern medicine is at work to clarify both benefits and risks associated with this form of medicine.
There are several theories put forth to try and explain why this traditional Asian practice works: gua sha increases blood flow, also known medically as microcirculation, in the soft tissue. This increase in circulation is thought to potentially stimulate natural pain-relieving processes in the body, and block the pain response nerves so you feel pain relief. The improved blood and oxygen flow is also thought to help speed healing.
Gua sha is most commonly used to treat muscle strain and is commonly used for back, neck, shoulder, arm, and leg muscle disorders. Like massage therapists, those who practice gua sha check over their patients in order to find trouble areas of tightness, strain, and discomfort. They then will scrap the area and rub with the therapy tool until the areas begins to turn red. The idea is that they are scraping the restriction away and pulling out the tightness and toxins that are causing the problems. Where to scrape is pretty obvious when it comes to treating tight muscles, but gua sha can be used to treat a myriad of other conditions. Where to scrape for other ailments comes down to the use of practices used in acupuncture and other similar therapies that associate one part of the body with a certain organ or body system.
Some people are slow to trust non-traditional methods of medicine and treatment and may view gua sha as little more than folk medicine, but the scientific community has been turning over some interesting findings that have been winning over new converts every year. Research conducted by some of the top institutions in the world have demonstrated that gua sha has the potential to decrease pain for individuals who suffer from chronic neck and back pain. Some people can find relieve in as little as a week with just a few sessions.
Researcher's data and analysis show that microcirculation is improved thanks to gua sha and that the blood flow is increased in areas treated. Therefore, the areas receiving treatment saw a lowering of both local and distal areas of pain. In tests done on mice and lab rats, gua sha was shown to also help with cell generation, healing, strengthening, and overall wellness. As is the case with most Eastern Medicine Practices, modern science seems to be reaffirming what traditional methods have taught all along- sometimes simple and basic is the way to go and offers the best relief. Contact Dr. Hamilton’s office to see if this treatment is right for your situation.