bodywork work anyway? How does manipulation at the surface, through
techniques of touch or even needle poking, ramify into the interior?
This is asked by many patients and providers struggling to mend
the break in their body/mind. We know bodywork feels good, mostly.
But how do we understand its therapeutic means?
Asian medical construct is that healing occurs by way of the vertical
and horizontal movement of Qi, within the channels and within the
Li, the lining or 'network of bags': collectively the fascia and
connective tissue. Through the connective tissue, the channels traverse
a terrain that surrounds every cell, fiber, and organ. Every aspect
of your touch, from the warmth of your the hand, to your thoughts
and intentions, enter. How deep and to what effect depends on the
state of the terrain and the technique used.
give care with your hands you know the somatic conversation of touch
meeting resistance, invitation, yielding, then entering an even
deeper conversation. This is intelligent fascia talking to intelligent
fascia. These external layers of fascia are contiguous with every
internal cell, ramifying now in both directions from external to
internal and vice versa.
Blood is stuck in the surface fascia, fabric and function are compromised.
There is pain, and a slowing of normal processes, not only there
at the surface, but also deeper in the organs. When you palpate,
you recognize the signs: trigger point banding, unyielding tightness,
blanching of the flesh that is slow to fade. These are signs of
Sha (pronounced sah). Gua Sha moves this stuck blood, immediately
relieves pain and restores the normal processes of circulation from
surface to interior and back again. It is easy to apply, and the
results are unparalleled.
is one of the best-kept secrets of East Asian medicine. Not because
someone has been keeping it from us, but because our modern worldview
belittles the traditional healing practices of ancestral medicine.
The language of how it works and why it works is different, some
might say antiquated. Yet Gua Sha is part of this tradition of healing
practice that leaves patients and providers stunned, asking: 'How
come I didnt know about this?'
with the Gua Sha FAQs.
Nielsen, MS, MA, LAc
the journal by the American Oriental Bodywork Therapy Association