Muscle Scraping Therapy
Dr. Smith uses Muscle Scraping Therapy in Noe Valley (AKA Gua Sha) along with other manual therapies to address accumulated damage in the fascia. This techniques utilizes tools made from bison horn to directly address lumps of scar tissue. It increases the circulation in the tissue and physically disrupts the accumulated scar tissue. More aggressive forms have been developed more recently, such as Graston, but Dr. Smith prefers to keep it old school.
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
Muscle Scraping Therapy in Noe Valley
Gua sha involves scraping the skin with a massage tool, often made of jade or bison bone, to break up scar tissue, produce soft tissue mobilization, and improve circulation. This ancient Chinese medicine technique addresses issues like chronic pain and accumulated scar tissue. Other more vigorous forms of this therapy, such as Graston Technique, have more recently been develped.
The long strokes used in Gua Sha stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. Gua sha is intended to address stagnant energy, called chi, in the body. This is more often described in the West as inflammation which is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
Gua sha is generally performed on the back, buttocks, neck, arms, and legs. A gentle version of it is even used on the face as a facial technique. Dr. Smith begins with mild pressure, and gradually increases intensity to determine how much force you can handle.
Muscle scraping is also used to help breakdown accumulated fat under the skin, also know as cellulite. The idea is that it breaks up and loosens fascia allowing fat to lie flat under the skin. Similar results can be gained through the regular and thorough use of a foam roller.
Muscle Scraping Therapy for Scar Tissue and Inflammation
Dr. Smith believes that addressing an issue through as many different approaches as possible is the best approach. He rarely uses Gua Sha as a stand-alone method, but he incorporates it as part of an overall treatment plan. It often works well in combination with deep tissue massage, myofascial release and chiropractic adjustments.
Sports injuries and surgical scars respond especially well to muscle scraping. Dr. Smith often pre-treats the area of complaint with a Dolphin Neurostim unit before beginning a Gua Sha treatment to begin separating the distinct layers of fascial from the muscle tissue that are now gummed together at the site of the scar. One very common surgical scar that responds quite well to this type of treatment is that resulting from a C-Section delivery.
There are some side effects associated with this type of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization. Your skin may be red and even tender following a treatment, but it will fade shortly. The application of arnica topically often helps to calm the area. Those on blood thinners may experience bruising and should inform Dr. Smith of the use of such medications before a treatment. Also, don’t forget that many natural anti-inflammatories have similar effects to NSAIDs on the body . The same is true for some vitamins, such as E.