刮痧 Gua Sha for Everyday Health: Faster Recovery from Colds and Flu Amy Hsu, L.Ac., M.O.M. | (215) 279-3570 | firstname.lastname@example.org When to Gua Sha to Aid Recovery from Colds and Flu • This technique works BEST for colds and flu at the first signs you are coming down with a cold! We are talking hours, not days. You might feel sensitive to wind or cold, or are just starting to have slight fever/chills. Your neck might feel stiﬀ. You might have the beginnings of a scratchy or sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, headache. • These can be subtle symptoms — do not blow them oﬀ now! THIS IS WHEN to do Gua Sha to nip this cold in the bud. Take a hot shower or bath, get someone to do Gua Sha on you (or do what you can reach on yourself), take herbal remedies, then go to sleep. • Works for everyone in the family — adults and kids. What you will need: • Skin lubricant — thicker oil such as olive oil or coconut oil, or a softer salve. • Instrument — a smooth, rounded-edge object you can apply pressure with: rounded edge of a metal lid, Asian ceramic soup spoon, smooth coin, blunt end of butter knife, or any smooth rounded edge. How to Gua Sha to Aid Recovery from Colds or Flu • Have person seated in a chair with upper back exposed, arms relaxed in their lap, head slightly tilted forward. • Apply oil/salve over back of the neck, tops of the shoulders, and upper back. • Position yourself behind the person. One hand will be holding the instrument. With your other hand you will want to brace their head to provide support against your stroke pressure. • Start at the back of the neck and stroke downward in short (5 inch), even strokes at a comfortable but firm level of pressure. Don't exceed 5/10 on a 0-10 pain scale. • I like to start at the midline and move outwards to one side, and then the other. • Repeat with 10-20 strokes in one spot. Stroke more in areas where you feel "grittiness" under the instrument. Stroke until Sha (the raised red dots) appears fully, and then move to an adjacent area. If Sha does not appear after 20 strokes, it probably won’t, so move on to an adjacent area. © 2020 Amy Hsu, L.Ac. (images from Arya Nielsen, Gua Sha: A Traditional Technique for Modern Practice) Stroke directions: Mostly downward, except up into hairline. Tips • Keep checking in with your person about pressure, speed, where it feels good, and adjust your technique accordingly. When done right, this will feel GOOD, like something is being relieved. • You may stroke over the spine itself, but be gentle and use less pressure than when stroking over muscular/fleshy areas. Sha does appear in between the vertebrae in some people. Take the same care if/when you go over the shoulder blade. • At the hairline, it may be easier to stroke in an upward direction in very short (1-2 inch) strokes. These can be the sorest spots in some people, so don’t miss them! Cautions & Contraindications • Do not Gua Sha over open wounds, lesions, active rash, bruises, pimples, or sunburn. • Be careful with moles and skin tags — go around them — an easy trick is to cover them with a finger from your other hand. • Be careful with the elderly, or anyone with thin, delicate skin. After Gua Sha Treatment • Keep neck, shoulders, and upper back covered and warm for 24 hours. Avoid sudden temperature changes, wind, and heavy exercise. • Drink plenty of water before and after treatment. • Observe the Sha — it should fade in 2-4 days, though it can take up to a week. Bruising sometimes develops as well, but should resolve in a little over a week. • If the Sha is any color beside red to purple, consult a qualified practitioner of Gua Sha as other colors may indicate the presence of more serious problems. This information is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed health care provider. © 2020 Amy Hsu, L.Ac.