Gua Sha, Scraping Therapy, Graston Therapy, oh my!
Gua Sha is an ancient therapy in which a trained practitioner uses a tool to scrape connective tissue. This movement creates small rash-like red dots under the skin called petichiae.
This modality is a perfect addition to pain-relief bodywork and deep tissue massage.
Erin Stebbins, LMT, CES, COMT, is a pain relief expert, massage therapist at True Balance Pain Relief Clinic, in Denver Colorado. She specializes in helping you reach a place of pain-free living. You can reach it even if you suffer with chronic pain or injuries.
Gua sha breaks down scar tissue in your fascia, or your muscles’ connective tissue.
Primarily, as scar tissue is broken down, muscle adhesions are broken down. This facilitates free movement and reduced pain. Muscle knots, or adhesions, create inflammation in the body. After these micro-traumas, inflammation, pain and overactive nerve activity occurs. Scraping, in combination with deep tissue massage, reduces all of these things by creating microtrauma to the muscles.
Gua sha moves extra blood into the area, and increases lymphatic flow which heals tissues. This increased lymphatic flow eliminates toxins in the tissue.
Is Gua sha Right For Me?
For example, clients with chronic pain, muscle knots, and limited range of motion benefit the most from Gua sha. Gua sha helps reduce pain associated with these conditions:
- muscle pain from overuse
- posture pain and imbalances
- active individuals with muscle soreness
A 2014 study found that Gua sha improved the range of movement in people with postural pain compared with recipients that had no treatment. Another study showed that weightlifters lifted more weight, with less recovery time, after Gua sha therapy.