Maybe you didn't know it, but Gua sha is one of the most effective ways in treating the symptoms of a common cold. Yes, scraping your skin in the right places can alleviate sneezing, runny nose, shakiness, cough, headache, temperature and any other symptoms which tell us your body is fighting some external invader.
What is Gua sha?
Gua sha is an ancient scraping technique from the Far East and is commonly used as a home therapy is many Asian countries. It's easy to do and all you need is a tool - a jar lid or a Chinese soup spoon - and some massage oil unless you scrape over your clothes. Use the oil as a lubrication on the skin and the spoon to scrape in short strokes in one direction.
How Does Gua sha Work?
Red dots can appear at the skin level after a few strokes and if you are suffering the symptoms of a cold, they are sure to be there. These red dots are petechiae and appear because blood is extracted from the tissue and is trapped just under the skin. These marks are temporary and will fade away after a few days. They are a sign that the tissue underneath is tense and obstructed, and in the process of the blood being released, this tension is alleviated. And, also, the external pathogen causing the symptoms comes to the skin level in a similar process as sweating.
Gua sha Procedure for Common Cold
You can start at your neck and shoulders and then scrape between your shoulder blades. This covers all the main areas connected to your lungs and respiration. Then in the center of your chest bone and between your ribs at the top of your chest.
Step-by-Step Gua sha Technique
Hold the tool with your dominant hand and use the side to lightly scrape down the muscles at the side of the neck (not the front). Strokes should be short and smooth, and gradually increase in pressure each time you scrape in a downwards direction. Scrape into the shoulder muscles towards the arms but stop short of the bony shoulder joint.
Next scrape downwards in the area between your spine and your shoulder blades. As you may have noticed, this is quite near impossible for you to do on yourself unless you are a contortionist. So this part has to be done by someone else. This is a classic area for petechiae to come to the surface.
Scrape down the front of your breast bone in short strokes and then follow the gaps of your rib cage outwards towards the side. Don't go any lower that where the breast tissue begins.
Scrape up and down at your occiput at the back of your head. Start on one side and press/brush up and down as you would brush your teeth. Scrape in the tissue below the bone, not actually on the bone.
Press and circle the tool in middle of the web between your thumb and index finger for 10 seconds. This is an acupoint called Large intestine 4. It can be very sore here when you have a cold! Repeat several times.
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