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Treat Anxiety with Holographic Gua sha

The longer you treat people with Gua sha, the more you see patterns in how the body reacts when certain symptoms are prevalent. My North African clinic was focused on people with chronic issues who were often medicated to relieve their symptoms but not to alleviate the disorder causing them. They were often the medical clinic cast-offs whose conditions were either outside of the capacity of the tests that were run ("it's all in your mind") or diagnosed with something that is poorly understood and treated ("you'll just have to live with it the best you can"). And amongst the myriad of 'tough' cases that came through my doors, many people had an anxiety disorder either as a side-show to some other condition or the main feature which brought them to me. Anxiety disorder is not the kind of anxiety that you might have where you are slightly anxious about your job, a trip, your future etc. We all have those ones to some degree or another. Anxiety disorder is when these feelings of fear and anxiety linger and start to affect your life in a detrimental way and for many people, anxiety, stress and depression mix freely together to create a perfect storm of ill health.

From the outset, a great treatment and I mean great treatment for many people with anxiety is Gua sha. I do not normally treat anyone unless I have a working diagnosis of what is wrong with them. A working diagnosis here means that I have an educated guess from their presentation and their intake information so that I know what I could do to find that almost magical path to a solution. This can then be tested and tweaked as the treatment progresses. There are certain key areas in which a considerable amount of relief can be felt by people suffering from anxiety which, while not fixes for everyone, have a good statistical chance of having some positive effect on the condition on the majority of people with anxiety disorder that passed through my clinic.

My style of treatment (known as Komorebi Gua sha) is based on my understanding of what happens when you do Gua sha which I came to realise some time ago was quite different from what other people think happens. I will spare you the explanation here but if you are interested in what happens during and after Gua sha, not some regurgitated soundbites from modern TCM or an attempt to stretch it thinly within a modern medicine story, I thoroughly recommend that you pick up a copy of Holographic Gua sha or join one of my courses (Komorebi Gua sha level 1 is a great starting place).

This section contains the places that I recommend to treat.


Zone: The Heart and Diaphragm Back shu zones.

Technique: Scrape downwards. Avoid the spine.

Location: On the upper back between the shoulder blades at position 1 and 2.

Duration: 10-20 strokes or until petechiae or 'sha' appears on the skin.


Zone: The Stomach zone.

Technique: Scrape downwards towards the knee.

Location: On the front part of the thigh at the quadriceps.

Duration: 10-20 strokes or until petechiae or 'sha' appears on the skin


Zone: Heart and head zones.

Technique: Press the heart zone on the palm of the hand and then scrape towards the middle fingertip.

Location: On the palm and finger.

Duration: 10-20 strokes. No petechiae or 'sha' normally appears on the skin.


Zone: Head and digestion zones.

Technique: Scrape downwards at the bottom of each toe and at medial (big toe) side of the sole.

Location: On the sole of the feet.

Duration: 10-20 strokes. No petechiae or 'sha' normally appears on the skin.


Zone: Heart and head zones.

Technique: Scrape down the sternum until the xiphoid process. Start at the middle and then carefully at the sides at the rib attachments.

Location: On the manubrium, sternum and xiphoid process.

Duration: 10-20 strokes or until petechiae or 'sha' appears on the skin.


Zone: Head and chest zones

Technique: Use a short back and forth pressure technique at 1 and 2 at the hairline and at 3 which is located at an area called Baihui at the top of the head.

Location: On the scalp at the hairline and top of the head.

Duration: 10 seconds at each zone and then repeat. No petechiae or 'sha' normally appears on the scalp.

For more information about Holographic Gua sha, see Holographic Gua sha: A Practical Microsystem Handbook in which the whole system is explained and suggested treatments are given.

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©2021 Clive Witham