Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gua Sha

Yesterday I had my second acupuncture treatment for this pesky shoulder condition known as adhesive capsulitis. Turns out that shoulder woes plus what I like to call "computer spine" has my upper back and chest in knots. Working out the kinks in the muscles and stretching out my shoulders is a tall order but I'm determined to let Josie work on me in whatever way she feels best.

My practitioner is trained in more than traditional acupuncture techniques. She also is licensed to dispense Chinese herbal preparations (I'm wary of those ever since I learned about Chinese herb nephropathy), teaches the healing technique of Qi Gong, and incorporates other elements into her acupuncture sessions. One is fire cupping which I wrote about earlier.

Yesterday she discussed another technique with me, this one called Gua Sha (also known as scraping). Although highly recommended for what ails me she admitted, "I don't want to scare you."Hmmmm. The technique involves intentional brisk and firm scraping of the skin (usually the back) with an object like the one shown here. The goal is to see redness develop, a sign that stagnant toxins are (finally) being released from the tight muscles. If there is no redness, the area doesn't need help apparently.

Truly, it didn't hurt. But, Josie took me to a mirror after the treatment to show me the redness on my back and to reassure me that this was totally normal and would fade over a few days. It was pretty darn dramatic but the lack of discomfort (more of a burning than anything) was amazing. Today I've been a bit sore but not too bad and my upper back is moving better. I went on line to learn more about Gua Sha and found this short video.

She also gave me some more exercises to do at home to complement the work she's doing in the one hour comprehensive acupuncture sessions. I'm feeling like this may help; the techniques have been around for thousands of years. Western medicine has little to offer me at this point. I don't think I've much to lose and lots to gain.

1 comment:

  1. Seems intense to me.... I would be a bit too intimidated to try it, but if nothing else works! Good for you :)


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