I feel like an old woman! So many body things have been happening to me in the last months. From falling down the stairs to heatstroke. I always feel ridiculous when I see a health practitioner for something and then see that I had many different things going on. I guess this is just normal for all of us. There is always something going on. The last week I have been unable to move my neck for unknown reasons. Maybe Computer, maybe the Cushions, Maybe Scooter Driving, Maybe Posture – maybe some post effects from the fall. Who knows. Anyways it has become increasingly more painful every day -so I got to see a lovely Acupuncture, Shiatsu, and TCM practitioner today. She gave me a treatment that I did not expect: Gua Sha.
I had the great fortune to have had many types of treatments in my life. From amazing practitioners. Just before coming to Austria and India, I enjoyed a full month with 11 treatments with various practitioners, thanks to a generous offer from
The last time I was able to enjoy Acupuncture was actually in Goa about 3 years ago. Then I was using it more a. to become familiar with its effects and b. for energetic purposes that I felt needed sorting out. (India can be quite rough and ready sometimes – have a look how to be prepared for India in this article!)
I found acupuncture very relaxing. After the initial fear of being poked by a needle subsided, I usually quickly relaxed and fell asleep.
This time I came for a specific physical reason: My neck has been so blocked and painful, that I hardly was able to move it anymore. And it had been getting worse everyday.
So the treatment that I went for was a mixed session of Acupuncture – Needles, light Shiatsu ( as much as it was possible with my sore neck) and something totally new: Gua Sha.
For my Acupuncture session, I wasn’t lying down, but in order for my neck to be in an ideal and straight position, I was sitting, facing the back of the chair with some large pillows on my belly, knees and under my feet to be super comfortable.
I must have looked like a Sumo Ringer 🤪. But I actually really started to look like one after the whole treatment…
I had needles around the point on which I fell a few weeks ago, all over my neck, right shoulder (that is where I had the most pain) and along my right arm, on both hands and on my third eye.
The needles were heated, to activate the meridians that they touched.
And so there I was sitting for about 20 minutes. Slightly uncomfortable, I must say.
It is not that the actual needles are hurting. it is just a little
Instantly, when the needles were removed, I could already feel a strong relief in the pain around my neck. Yay!
But there was more to come…
I had never heard of this type of treatment before. And it was definitely nothing that I could have ever expected.
For Gua Sha a bone or gemstone scraper is used. And your skin is literally scraped in long strokes over some time.
If you think that sounds uncomfortable – yes! It definitely is!
The firm scraping causes the capillary vessels underneath the skin to burst which means you get minor bruising.
The different areas of your body correspond to the organs. In an absolutely healthy person, the scraping is supposed to only leave light red marks from the increased circulation.
This treatment moves the chi or vital energy in the body which then leads to the reduction of tension and muscle pain. Chi, however, can also be blocked. When this is the case, then, according to Chinese Medicine, this is actually visible in dark spots – violet to purple in
These are the burst capillaries, that turn purple when the blood is stagnant.
Which is again linked to a cause for tension and muscle pain.
You can imagine that with the pain that my back has been in, and after my fall, my back was absolutely purple.
I was going to share a picture of my back – but my boyfriend was in such shock of the harshness, that I decided not to.
It is not painful at all. It just looks like someone drove over you with a tractor!
From a medical perspective, the benefits of Gua Sha can be explained through microtrauma – caused by the bruises, which initiate the response in the immune system – and hence strengthen it.
Gua Sha is often used with back pain and shoulder pain – its effectiveness has actually been supported in studies which indicate that it can reduce neck and shoulder pain in people who use their computers often. (Hello!!!
The treatment is certainly an experience: My therapist said it was like good torture.
From my own experience right after and the day after the treatment, I can definitely felt an incredible reduction of the pain and greater mobility in my neck since the treatment. It is entirely different – actually almost completely gone! This is incredible!
And I can also feel much more clearly the movements that I shouldn’t be doing at the moment.
So I can really recommend having this type of treatment if you are experiencing neck or shoulder pain!
Gua Sha in Beauty and Facial Treatments
I didn’t realize, but the Little Jade and Rose quartz Facial Rollers + Scrapers that we see all over the Internet, Instagram and in Wellness Shops, actually are exactly of the same technique and with the same purpose: To increase blood circulation, relax the skin and improve energy flow and reduce tension.
Using Gua Sha for Facial rejuvenation is actually a trend!
Of course, thinking of my treatment just now and then considering to use such a scraper in your face, immediately makes it clear how much more gentle you need to be when using such a scraper on your face. No bruises on my face, please!!!
But the good thing with Gua Sha for the Face is that you can usually apply it yourself, which means you can also control the strength and pressure that you apply.
Make sure to use a facial or massage oil, when doing your Gua Sha treatment in your face, keep the angle of the scraper and 45 Degree Celsius and move in long single strokes for about 3 minutes (in your face).
You can find Gua Sha Scrapers on the Internet and on Ebay.
Herbivore, for example, offers a good variety – including great treatments.
And eBay offers a great range of cheaper varieties.
Feature Image by Herbivore