One of the great strengths of Gua sha scraping therapy is that it can be used on children of all ages. It can be used with some confidence with the common ailments that most children suffer from like occasional stomach aches, colds, coughs, headaches, fevers and tight muscles. Instead of heading for the medicine box and giving your child pharmaceutical pills, give Gua sha a try. It works so well that you'll be amazed that you didn't know about this before.
I'm an acupuncturist and my number two son, Keigo, is not a lover of needles. Well, in fact, who is? But he really, really doesn't like acupuncture needles. They don't hurt him of course but he just doesn't like the idea. He has to be seriously distracted by some genuine sickness for him to allow me to even come close with anything sharp. This is where Gua sha comes in. A Gua sha tool is a lot friendlier, less invasive and all round nicer in the eyes of a child. And more than a few adults come to think of it.
When treating children with Gua sha scraping therapy, there are some important points to note. The obvious one is that if the child you are treating is not your own, their parent or guardian should be present at all times and be completely informed. But I'm just going to presume you're treating your own kids.
So what happens?
You spread some lubricating oil over your child's skin in the place you want to treat and then scrape a Chinese soup spoon gently over the area. That's it. It really isn't very complicated.
Why do you do that?
As you scrape over with the side of the spoon, you are pushing down onto muscle, tendon and connective tissue. This may or may not cause the tissue bed to release blood in the space between your skin and tissue and if so, there will be red dots which appear in a group on the surface of the skin. This isn't a bruise and the capillaries remain unbroken. This is why it can look so strange.
But for these marks to come out you usually need two things. For there to be an issue in the tissue/ muscular area being scraped over and for there to be sufficient pressure of your tool (not much really) to activate the release.
Children are quite literally a big bundle of energy. If you look after any, you'll know this from personal experience, they have so much energy because they take yours! They're running around like crazy and you're flopped in a chair unable to lift your index finger. They therefore don't need much pressure in order for Gua sha to work. Please note however that if you have a teen or pre-teen who is in full adolescence angst, you going to have to use more! And expect lots of tension and therefore lots of marks.
What does it do?
Studies show how it primarily restores unrestricted blood flow through a targeted tissue area. If that tissue area is somehow bunged up, then there can be symptoms either here where it is obstructed or somewhere seemingly unrelated on the body. It gets bunged up through a variety of reasons - perhaps due to repeated postural habits (eg. mobile use), perhaps due to being outside on a cold or windy day, perhaps stress from school etc. They may not even notice that anything is wrong.
So how do you do it?
Well here is a video of how you hold the tool and scrape for the most common 'Wide stroke' technique.
When you scrape on the skin, it has to have lubrication and you can use any massage oil for this.
Here's an example of how you treat a stomach upset:
1. Start with the mid-lower back. For obvious reasons it's right behind your stomach area but this region is closely connected to digestion. Scrape downwards on the wide area of muscle either side of the spine. Feel for any tense areas and concentrate on those. Start lightly and increase pressure depending on age - the older your child is, the more chance to retain tension here.
2. Then move on to the front of the thigh and on the outside muscle area of the lower leg. Scrape downwards only. Skip over the knee area and stop before the ankle.
3. Scrape down the palm and in particular follow the digestive organs zone. Press with the tool on any sore spot.
If no marks come out onto the skin, you can repeat the Gua sha the following day, but if there are red or purple Gua sha marks, you need to wait a few days until they have faded.
You can find more detail about treating kids in the free course - How to treat Coughs and Colds with Gua sha Scraping Therapy - there are also some tips for how you deal with potential negative reactions to your child having marks on their bodies. You can access the free course by clicking on the image below.
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