What is Gua Sha?
Based on the theories of ‘counteraction,’ Gua sha or frictioning uses a smooth edged tool to scrape the skin intentionally bringing up a rash to release pathogens and pain. There are beautiful tools of bone, jade or other precious materials made especially for gua sha, however my pragmatic side favors the $2 porcelain Chinese soup spoon that I can get from World Market and that fits perfectly in my hand.
Hippocrates identified 4 types of frictioning and their specific healing benefits stating, “It has the power of loosening, binding, augment and diminishing.” Huh, what does that mean?
Soft frictioning–Uses light quick strokes to loosen the flesh. This technique may not bring up strong rash and clears quickly. It is used for those who are very weak or in areas that can’t handle great depth or where you don’t want a rash to show up such as the face. Yeah, really, a little gua sha can release TMJ and tight jaw muscles. Yes, we can apply gua sha to the jaw.
Moderate frictioning–Uses medium pressure and frequency of strokes to increase the flesh. Used for overall pain and to fight off colds and flu.
Hard frictioning–Uses deeper quicker strokes to strengthen the flesh. Used for overall and chronic deep pain and to fight off colds and flu.
Prolonged–Uses longer, slowly to break up thick congestion or thin the flesh such as thick scar tissues.
What does gua sha treat?
All frictioning generates heat and releases exterior invasions or the 6 Evils. Many Asian cultures use Gua Sha extensively at the onset of a cold or are ‘coming down’ with something. Gua sha also release deep stagnation and pain.
Pain–anywhere–Doesn’t really matter […]
Fire cupping is a wonderful therapy that has been a part of Chinese medicine for at least 3,000 years, and it’s becoming more common and familiar to Americans. Thank you! Though on first impression it may look a little daunting, fire cupping feels great and moves Qi magnificently. However, it is not for everyone and considerations must be taken into account with each individual client.
April Crowell Fire Cupping
A little history on cupping
Before there was glass, horns or bamboo cups were used for fire cupping. However, they carried with them a few problems–namely sterilization, access to horns (not a wildlife friendly practice), and the ability to see how treatment was proceeding. Glass jars proved far superior because they seal better to the flesh, are easy to clean and their clear structure allowed the practitioner to observe the progress of treatment better. Today, some practitioners use plastic cups with a suctioning apparatus–but I simply favor the fire.
What is fire cupping?
Fire cupping uses glass jars that have an ignited material (I use cotton balls soaked in alcohol) placed briefly inside them to create negative pressure. The flame is then quickly removed and the jar placed over specific areas of the body creating suction. This pressure moves the Blood, Qi and fluids of the area raising a petechiae rash–that’s a good thing in this case.
The rash itself is an assessment tool for the practitioner. Its color, how quickly or slowly it rises and how long it remains reveal how deep the pattern of disharmony is. For example a deep purple rash indicates […]