Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gua Sha

So you all know I'm pretty fecking crazy right?? Well yesterday I proved us all right and had some crazy ass ancient Chinese technique that left me looking like I had fallen off a motorcycle on the freeway without a top on.

Its called Gua Sha.

I figured since I'm done having children, its time to take care of me and some of the issues I have been putting off. The biggest issue: my back!! I have scoliosis, and I know I've talked about it before on here but its 5:30am and I don't feel like trying to find that post, but basically I have moderate to severe (31 degrees to be exact) curvature of the spine. My worst curvature is in my upper back in between my shoulder blades.

My scoliosis is something that causes me great anxiety. It is something I have spend my entire life since the age of 12 avoiding. SO facing this is HUGE for me. But the facts remain, it causes me horrific pain of my life for the last 10+ years. Its FINALLY time to do something other than pop pills, and have (2) 48lb children walk on it nightly. I mean that's great and all, but yea...

So I started seeking out alternative therapy's opposed to the shots in the spine that my H gets. I am SO not ready for that, not saying I will never do it, but definitely not for me now. Baby steps here people!

Yesterday I met with an AMAZING chiropractor/Muscle Therapy/Alternative treatment Dr and we did a couple of things- NO CRACKING involved...that's something else I'm scared of- Chiropractors.

We started off with some rolfing (which was a little painful but I could see how amazing I would feel after) then 10 min. of heat therapy, then started the Gua Sha. Basically Gua Sha is started by them feeling through your muscles for any knots or adhesion's. In the locations where they do feel knots, they apply this special lotion and take this wood credit card looking thingy and rub it out. They do it with a very fast motion and with a lot of pressure, but the thingy glides easily because of the lotion.

I am not going to lie, it was painful at times but they would stop when it got too bad. And when I show you this picture you are certainly going to run for the hills, but I SWEAR you, its REALLY REALLY wasn't NEARLY as bad as it looks. And it is AMAZING! I felt incredible after- no pain, no tension, no knots/adhesion's, and SO relaxed...I just left there sporting what looked like some serious road rash...

Thank god I had a cardigan on!! And that tape on my back had nothing to do with the Gua Sha. The Dr. put it there to help support my shoulder and provide me with better posture.

Its really not road rash, there was absolutely NO breaking of the skin anywhere, its really more like a hickey, but not. Here is a little more info about the technique:

Gua Sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. Commonly a ceramic Chinese soup spoon was used, or a well worn coin, even honed animal bones, water buffalo horn, or jade.
In cases of fatigue from heavy work a piece of ginger root soaked in rice wine is sometimes used to rub down the spine from head to tail.
The smooth edge is placed against the pre-oiled skin surface, pressed down firmly, and then moved down the muscles—hence the term "tribo-effleurage" (i.e., friction-stroking) -- or along the pathway of the acupuncture meridians, along the surface of the skin, with each stroke being about 4-6 inches long.

This causes extravasation of blood from the peripheral capillaries (petechiae) and may result in sub-cutaneous blemishing (ecchymosis), which usually takes 2–4 days to fade. Sha rash does not represent capillary rupture as in bruising, as is evidenced by the immediate fading of petechiae to echymosis, and the rapid resolution of sha as compared to bruising. The color of sha varies according to the severity of the patient's blood stasis—which may correlate with the nature, severity and type of their disorder—appearing from a dark blue-black to a light pink, but is most often a shade of red. Although the marks on the skin look painful, they are not. Patients typically feel immediate sense of relief and change. - From

Pretty freaking crazy right???! But I will say, I felt SUCH relief after and will defiantly be doing it again! I had never even heard about it until today!  Anyone ever done it? What was your experience like?


Momma Wilson said...

holy cow, I'm sure glad it doesn't feel like it looks! glad that you're taking care of you:)

Jennifer said...

Thank goodness it doesn't feel lik it looks! I hope the treatment goes well!!

Life In Heels said...

Wow! That sounds amazing but looks so painful! Can any chiro do it or would I need to look for someone that practices this?

Sarah said...

I have (had?) scoliosis as well- diagnosed when I was 11, & I wore a brace in middle school. It didn't help & I wound up getting a spinal fusion (surgery) when I was 15. Exactly 10 years ago. My curvatures were 45* & 48*. I know of several techniques my surgeon has suggested to my sister (who also has scoliosis & does not want the surgery). He currently has her doing an intense physical therapy regimen. I've never heard of this technique but it sounds like it worked for you! Hope you find relief from the pain, I remember how horrible it was. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

That's the BIGGEST Bandaid I think I have ever seen!! WOW!!