Welcome to IMB Acupuncture Blogger!

I have been served Greater Los Angeles community since 2003 as a Licensed Acupuncturist. I hope that this infomative blogger can help people with pain from simple strain to complicated herniated disk and Frozen Shoulder. While I've been in this pain specialized field for more than 10 years, I have helped thousands of people to pain free. David B Chung LAc.

IMB Acupuncture
698 S. Vermont Ave #210
Los Angeles, CA 90005


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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

scraping sha-bruises (Gua Sha Therapy)

Gua sha (Chinese: 刮痧; pinyin: guā shā), meaning "scraping sha-bruises", is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising. Practitioners believe gua sha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing. Gua sha is sometimes referred to as "spooning" or "coining" by English speakers.

When is Gua sha used?

Gua sha is used whenever a patient has pain in any acute or chronic disorder. There may be aching, tenderness and/or a knotty feeling in the muscles. Palpation reveals sha when normal finger pressure on a patient's skin causes blanching that is slow to fade. In addition to resolving musculo skeletal pain, Gua Sha is used to treat as well as prevent common cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma, as well as any chronic disorder involving pain or inflammation.

Where is Gua sha applied?

Gua sha can be done almost anywhere on the body but is typically applied at the back, neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, buttocks and limbs. Gua sha is also applied over the joints but not without first treating the channels that supply a joint area.

How is Gua sha applied?

The area to be treated is lubricated with oil or balm*. The area to be treated is press-stroked in one direction with a round-edged instrument until the petechiae are completely raised. Exactly how to safely apply Gua sha, to whom and when is learned from a teacher of Gua sha. (insert image of press stroking)

What kind of lubricant is used for Gua sha?

Thick oils such as peanut oil were used as a lubricant in China.

What kind of instrument is used for Gua sha?

A soupspoon, coin, slice of water buffalo horn or jade are used in Asia.

What does the type of sha indicate?

The color of the Sha is both diagnostic and prognostic. A practitioner trained in Gua sha notes the color of the sha, its quality and how fast it fades in making a ‘diagnosis’, that is, in assessing the location, quality, mutability and pattern of a presenting problem.

How fast will the petechiae fade?

The Sha petechiae should fade in 2-4 days. If it is slower to fade, indicating poor Blood circulation, the practitioner must ascertain whether it is deficiency of Blood, Qi or Yang, a deeper stagnation or organ deficiency at the root.

What are the benefits of Gua sha?

In most cases the patient feels an immediate shift in their condition particularly in their pain or sense of constraint, range of motion. In traditional medicine, Gua Sha moves stuck Qi and Blood, releasing the Exterior, mimicking sweating and moving Fluids.
Modern research has confirmed Gua sha reduces pain, inflammation while stimulating an immune protective response that can persist for days following treatment. Gua sha is a valuable treatment for musculoskeletal problems as well as internal organ conditions including respiratory and hepatic inflammation.

Is Gua sha safe?

Gua sha is safe when done by someone properly trained, and it is serious medicine. Knowing when to use it and what to expect from treatment is as important as good technique. Because Gua sha lifts cells out of the vascula and some of those cells may express from the skin, a practitioner of Gua sha must respect guidelines of safety to eliminate risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens.

Gua Sha is a technique that is designed to remove scar tissue and adhesions and thus improving blood flow and muscle movement.

Cupping therapy

It became such a phenomenon ever since Michael Phelps showed up on Olympic swimming with cupping marks.

Through suction, the skin is drawn into the cup by creating a vacuum in the cup placed on the skin over the targeted area. The vacuum can be created either by the heating and subsequent cooling of the air in the cup, or via a mechanical pump. The cup is usually left in place for somewhere between five and fifteen minutes. It is believed by some to help treat pain, deep scar tissues in the muscles and connective tissue, muscle knots, and swelling.

Dry cupping

Bamboo cups
The cupping procedure commonly involves creating a small area of low air pressure next to the skin. However, there are varieties in the tools used, the methods of creating the low pressure, and the procedures followed during the treatment.
The cups can be various shapes including balls or bells, and may range in size from 1 to 3 inches (25 to 76 mm) across the opening. Plastic and glass are the most common materials used today, replacing the horn, pottery, bronze and bamboo cups used in earlier times. The low air pressure required may be created by heating the cup or the air inside it with an open flame or a bath in hot scented oils, then placing it against the skin. As the air inside the cup cools, it contracts and draws the skin slightly inside. More recently, vacuum can be created with a mechanical suction pump acting through a valve located at the top of the cup. Rubber cups are also available that squeeze the air out and adapt to uneven or bony surfaces.

In practice, cups are normally used only on softer tissue that can form a good seal with the edge of the cup. They may be used singly or with many to cover a larger area. They may be used by themselves or placed over an acupuncture needle. Skin may be lubricated, allowing the cup to move across the skin slowly.
Depending on the specific treatment, skin marking is common after the cups are removed. This may be a simple red ring that disappears quickly, the discolouration left by the cups is normally from bruising especially if dragging the cups while suctioned from one place to another to break down muscle fiber. Usually treatments are not painful.

Fire cupping

Fire cupping involves soaking a cotton ball in 99% alcohol. The cotton is then clamped by a pair of forceps and lit via match or lighter. The flaming cotton ball is then, in one fluid motion, placed into the cup, quickly removed, and the cup is placed on the skin. Fire heats the inside of the cup and a small amount of suction is created by the air cooling down again and contracting. Massage oil may be applied to create a better seal as well as allow the cups to glide over muscle groups (e.g. trapezius, erectors, latisimus dorsi, etc.) in an act called "moving cupping". Dark circles may appear where the cups were placed because of rupture of the capillaries just under the skin, but are not the same as a bruise caused by blunt-force trauma. There are documented cases of burns caused by fire cupping.

Wet cupping

Wet cupping is also known as Al-Hijamah or medicinal bleeding. 
Today, wet cupping is a popular remedy practiced in many parts of the Muslim world .
Alternatively, mild suction is created using a cup and a pump (or heat suction) on the selected area and left for about three minutes. The cup is then removed and small superficial skin incisions are made using a cupping scalpel. A second suction is used to carefully draw out a small quantity of blood.
In Finland, wet cupping has been done at least since the 15th century, and it is done traditionally in saunas. The cupping cups were made of cattle horns with a valve mechanism in it to create an partial vacuum by sucking the air out. Cupping is still used in Finland as an alternative medicine.