Gua Sha - What's it All About?

"Gua sha means "scraping sha-bruises" and is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising. Gua sha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing."

"This description doesn't sound especially appealing, plus add to that the shocking appearance of ones back in the mirror post session and it beggars the question why try gua sha?! I heard good things all the same and so went to see Cate for a couple of sessions. Gua sha can treat all sorts of ailments including muscular pains, colds and poor circulation but I went to see Cate for issues with my breathing. I had a 'normal' level of London stress and very inhibited breathing.

I had a 45 minute session and after Cate had taken my pulses, I laid on my front whilst she did her thing. As well as gua sha I had some cupping done (more on that here). At the time of the session I felt intensely relaxed, it was a bit like an unusual and intense massage. But back out on the street, following a cup of herbal tea in reception, I began to feel benefits of the treatment that went beyond feeling calm. 

The gua sha had shown up very strongly around my ribs (Cate in fact said she had only seen such prominent 'bruising' around the rib/lung area before on asthmatics, which I'm not.) I was at the time planning for a wedding and had been on a writing deadline and so had begun shallow-breathing due to stress which had then become habitual and chronic.

After the gua sha sessions I took full whole lung, diaphragm and belly breaths for the first time in what felt like months. I knew all about breathing techniques from doing yoga and some Pilates but knowing and being able to do something naturally are so different and gua sha helped me get my healthy/normal breathing back. Of course not breathing properly had impacted negatively on my energy levels too so I also had a lot more of that once I was taking proper complete breaths again. Gua sha looks terrible but feels great, I'd absolutely recommend! (Bruises generally fade after 2-3 days.)".

 Emma Silverthorn is a FIX Team member and writer.

More on Cate and booking in with her here.