People who deal with chronic pain are said to be trying an ancient form of healing.
Construction worker Darren Gioello has been treating his aches and pains that come along with his line of work with a technique called Gua sha.
“I always have knots in my back or it's really stressed out,” Gioello said.
He said he heard about Gua sha from his massage therapist Beth Jezyk at the spa of Essex.
“I was open minded, I didn't really have any expectations going into it, it was a new thing, so I figured I would try it out,” Gioello said.
“Gua sha is a treatment used traditionally in Chinese medicine. And ‘gua’ literally translates from Chinese as to scrape.”
Jezyk uses a tool to scrape the skin, pulling the muscle fibers and increasing the blood flow to an area.
“In traditional Chinese medicine, they believed that disease or illness is caused from a blockage of blood flow or they call it ‘chi,’ we'll call it energy,” Jezyk said.
Gua sha is most commonly used to provide pain relief but it can also be used to treat asthma, colds, the flu and fibromyalgia and other medical conditions.
“It's believed as well that lactic acid and uric acid can wrap around a tight muscle fiber or bundle. And that's creating a lack of blood flow to the area. So with the Gua sha, it's opening all of that up,” Jezyk said.
However, there is a small catch. Significant bruising is possible.
Jezyk said it isn’t painful but described the sensation as “intense.”
The markings actually act as a guide for the practitioner.
“If you look into a mirror after a session, you can see, ‘oh I'm tighter up here, v.s. down here’,” Jezyk said.
If the color of the markings is more pronounced, that means the area is tighter or congested.
Gioello said the bruising shouldn’t be a deterrent.
“The benefits the next day really shined through,” Gioello said.
The bruising only lasts for a few days and tends to be lessened after several treatments.
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