Micro-Scar Soft Tissue Remodeling

刮痧  "What is Gua Sha?"

As seen on "Cutting-Edge Pain Solutions, Pt 1" on Doctor Oz and also on The Doctors (see video below), Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese healing technique. This type of physical therapy has been used in China as a folk remedy for over 800 years. Gua Sha is to an Asian family what chicken soup is to an American family. One family member may treat another with guasha for health problems ranging from the common cold to relieving muscle aches and pains.

I won't lie to you.  This form of therapy looks brutal… and for some people it's not fun.  But this “controlled” microtrauma is the only way to truly break down the microscopic Scar Tissue, Fascial Restrictions, and Adhesions that amplify your Pain Sensitivity.

We typical perform other pain sensitivity neutralization techniques first, so that this form of therapy feels more like a “good hurt” instead of a form of medieval torture.  We also use three different levels of sharpness.  And we always start with the dullest tool and let you choose your preference after getting used to that one. 

Just remember that you control how intense the treatment is… because we know microscopic scar tissue can be a 1000 times more pain sensitive than normal tissue.  If your tissues are severely sensitive we will hold off until you are ready for this treatment.  Most people do fine, especially after the first treatment or two.  In fact, most people are surprised to see the results because they usually look more painful than is feels.

gua sha scar tissue
Guess where this patient had more pain and microscopic scar tissue build-up?
Answer: Left neck greater to shoulder blade and he also complained of pain between his shoulder blades.

Why does it look so bad?  When we break down these scar tissues, the microscopic blood vessels supplying the tissue are also traumatized. These “capillaries” leak a small amount of blood into the tissues under the skin.  It looks like a bruise but it is not as deep, so it heals within a few days or less.  Sometimes the bruise will go through a series of color changes: red to purple, purple to purplish-brown, from there it sometimes goes to green, and then to yellow, before finally fading completely away (usually within a few days). This bruising is not something to be afraid of or alarmed about.  It is normal for the area to develop post-treatment bruising.  That’s why we sometimes take a photo of your skin to show you how it looks.  Some patients bruise easily and others do not.  If you do… it’s a great way to earn some sympathy points from friends and family!  

So, in the case of our Scar Tissue Remodeling, bruising really can be a “good” thing.  It is a normal part of getting better.  But it is critical that you remember that this process is a “Team Effort”.  Just like a broken bone, your body will heal from this "Controlled Trauma" whether you assist it or not. Your compliance in following instructions and following the very specific Stretching Protocol that I will give you after treatment will determine whether the injured tissues will heal correctly or back into the twisted, tangled, non-elastic “clump” that you brought in here in the first place.

The doctors (TV show)

Chinese Gua Sha Scraping Therapy

On March 30, 2006 The Wall Street Journal reported, “Gua sha is designed to promote circulation and move stagnant blood by scraping… the effect was extremely relaxing and made us feel flexible and energetic.”


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Provo Physical Therapy Clinic