Gua sha scraping massage tool relieves pain and myofascial limitations. Gua sha scraping massage tool is utilized by acupuncturists to relieve pain, inflammation, and illness.
Modern gua sha is called scraping treatment, Graston, or instrument-aided soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). It treats pain and myofascial restriction, not sickness or illness. Scraping treatment instruments vary. Some are general gua sha scraping massage tools, while others have unique training programs.
I’m a gua sha practitioner and educator with a Western and Chinese medical background. I’ve observed that some practitioners use inferior instruments that restrict the efficiency of their therapy or assume they need to buy pricey gear to perform at all. This article demystifies gua sha tools and explains their pros and cons.
The durability, porousness, strength, resonance, conductivity, and cost of an item are all affected by the material. Almost anything, ranging from the bones of animals to polycarbonate, can be scraped.
Titanium, copper, silver, and silver, as well as stainless steel. In terms of conveying information from the tissues being worked on to the hands of the practitioner, metal is typically the most long-lasting material since it is the least porous, the strongest, and the most conductive and resonant of all the possible options. In addition, the highly polished surfaces of many of the high-quality stainless steel instruments available today make it possible for the therapy to be applied more directly to the fascial layers while also avoiding some overstimulation that might prompt the body to produce sha.
Metal does not crack, chip, tear, or quickly melt, and it may easily endure the lifespan of your practice. Metal can also be easily recycled. However, copper and silver oxidize over time and may react moderately to some individuals’ skin or skincare products. Although stainless steel and titanium are mostly non-reactive, some persons are allergic to metals; thus, it is important to consult with the patient before using a metal instrument.
Copper and silver
Copper and silver both have qualities that may aid in healing, and both are excellent conductors of warmth and vibration, which can be valuable in therapeutic settings. Unfortunately, the cost of metal tools is often higher than the cost of other kinds of tools. Aluminum scraping tools do not appeal to me in any way. Therefore I do not make use of them.
In my experience, the best tools are those made of high-quality copper or tiny tools made of stainless steel. My favorite part about how the resonance of the metal enables me to gain palpatory information via the tool and feel connected to the patient while I’m treating them is that it allows me to do both of those things simultaneously. In my experience, well-crafted metal instruments are simple to hold and have a satisfying amount of weight and substance, making them fantastic for usage in clinical settings.
In my profession, I worked for many years using a soup spoon made of clay until I discovered the metal instruments that I like to use.
Even though it does not have a rough texture, the spoon is not as well polished as some of the other metal instruments; therefore, it has the potential to produce a micro-abrasion on the user’s skin. This may overstimulate the superficial blood vessels, producing sha, but it will not necessarily directly treat the fascial layers. Because the spoons are prone to breaking or chipping, you should always inspect the edge of the spoon before using it to ensure that there are no jagged edges that might irritate your skin. Do not use any ceramic spoons that have a metallic line painted around the edge since there is a chance that the paint might rub off on the patient.
Animal Bone or Horn
Typically made from the bones and horns of cattle. Compared to other materials, a tool constructed of animal bone or horn will have more porosity, greater insulation, and greater brittleness or weakness.
Jade, rose quartz, bian stone. The semi-precious stones are often quite smooth, making it difficult to gain a strong hold on them. Despite this, they are useful for light facial treatment and more massage-oriented methods, such as trigger point therapy.
Be conscious that the Bian stone, on the other hand, may sometimes be somewhat abrasive and produce micro-abrasions to the skin since this is something you should want to avoid.
Polycarbonate resin, other hard plastic. These tools are often inventive in terms of shape because of the relative ease of manufacturing a new design in plastic.
Several instruments of this kind are available in various sizes and qualities. However, in my experience, even the higher quality polycarbonate tools feel awkward and large in my hand, while the cheaper plastic tools feel flimsy and ineffectual.
It may be difficult to clean effectively wooden gua sha instruments, and they have a high propensity to deteriorate over time if used often. On the other hand, they are lovely and lightweight. However, I would recommend just using them at home.
Other Factors to Consider
Shape and Size
Gua sha instruments come in a variety of sizes and forms.
Using a large instrument is not always essential for even bigger body parts. For example, if you can warm a region before administering gua sha, the treatment area will be more concentrated, and a smaller instrument will suffice. Additionally, it is feasible to access minor joint regions, such as the wrist, metacarpals, and vertebrae, without a very small instrument or edge.
However, I attempt to match the size of the tool or tool portion to the structure I am working on, and I work within the patient’s comfort level so that it does not seem too pointed or sharp.
A tool with a rounded edge will be more difficult for the gua sha scraping method and may be more useful as a massage instrument. This is true for many jades and rose quartz gua sha instruments. A blade with a sharper edge will be more effective for scraping and creating sha, but the patient may experience discomfort. High-quality metal tools will have a decent scraping edge that is not too sharp, and some of the tools will have one sharper edge.
If you are doing gua sha in a professional environment, you must sterilize your instruments using a chemical disinfectant, heat, or UV light. Consider how your approach to disinfection may jeopardize the integrity of your instrument. Bone, horn, wood, some polymers, and certain metals may decompose or otherwise react with chemicals, heat, or moisture.
Application and Preference
You should be able to grip the instrument without it sliding out of your hands or being the incorrect size or form for your hands. It should produce sufficient pressure for sha to emerge spontaneously, but not so much pressure that bruising occurs. It may prefer certain tools depending on what you’re doing or working with.
As long as a tool is safe for professional usage, you should use your preferred instrument. Find an instrument that fits your hand, is compatible with your physique and the demands of your patients, and that you like using.
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