Gua sha is cool!
Gua sha is cool! I mean that in the groovy, hip, smart, chic kind of way.
It's so astonishingly misunderstood that most of the explanations out there are nothing short of bizarre. If there isn't someone trying to scientificise it and so stop one group using it, there are others trying to delegitimize it and fill it with well intentioned new age mumbo jumbo and yet others who wish to disenfranchise those who can and can't obtain and pass on the knowledge.
It's really not that complicated. Just look out of the window. Look at the sky. Feel the wind. Touch the rain. Smell the flowers. Listen to the birds. That's where you find the whole basis of Gua sha. Every single thing that Gua sha does and is, can be found out there amongst the natural world.
You know I live in the middle of a forest, right? I spend far too much (or just the right amount of) time, reading old texts and wandering the boar paths pondering on the spikey plants and flying creatures. If the ancient Chinese weren't speaking about these natural concepts in the whole structure of Chinese medicine, then I'll eat my jalapeños. And trust me, they're nervously spicy.
So how do I know so much about the ancient Chinese? Well, I don't. Our household is (apart from me) Japanese and the family ancestors are just mysterious images on the side of the shrine. What I do know is that the book on which, lock, stock and barrel, the whole Eastern medicine shebang is based on, has a great deal of information in it. If you then take the time to look at this text, the Huangdi Neijing, and not rely on poor hand me downs of information, then it all starts to look like something different. Something infinitely better.
When I went to acupuncture school, I now know that the understanding of what I was being taught was so woefully inadequate and so painfully misunderstood that I really can't see how I ever understood anything. They were just using words. Yin. Yang. Qi. Earth. Fire. Metal...But there was nothing of substance behind them. It was like an academic exercise. And this school wasn't much different from the many other schools, doing the same thing with their confused knowledge and equally confused students.
The thing that was missing was the cool factor. This is the thing which underlies all cool things in life. And the ancient Chinese were cucumbers. They figured out nature like no other generation did after them and packaged and packed it into neat nuggets of thought which when you read it, think about it and then the penny drops about what they meant, it's nothing short of transforming.
And the coolness of Gua sha is not only that it's based on the coolest ecological ideas of plants, trees and rivers but it's double cool (like a 70s skateboarder flapping his flared trousers in the breeze) in that it does stuff that I can't do with other things I know like needles. You give me a sore neck, and I return to you a happy person with light brushes of an abstract oil painting. You give me a chest infection, and I give you back a canvas of sheer dorsal artwork. You give me a dull face, and I give you a cascading complexion of joy.
Gua sha is cool. Too cool for school. If you want to learn it and learn it right, get yourself to www.komorebi-institute.com and click the button that says level 1.
Don't think about it.
I've got a whole new ecological world to share with you and I'm poised behind the curtain.
But I won't be there forever.