Traditional medicines all over the world use some form of cupping as treatment. Using suction cups on the body decompresses the tissue, aids in relaxation of the muscles, bring new blood circulation into an area, and, in doing so, also has a detoxification effect on the body. Cups may leave a circular mark for 2 to 3 days following the treatment.
Suction cupping has the following helpful effects:
- Stretches muscles upwards from underlying bone and connective tissue
- Relaxes muscle tissue
- Pulls metabolic waste and stagnated blood out of the tissues
- Increases blood circulation into tight or adhered muscles and allows for more oxygen and nutrients to reach injured tissues
For gua sha, oil or lotion is applied and a specially shaped blunt-edged tool is used to scrape the surface of the skin. It is most often used to treat common cold or muscle tension and pain in the upper back. I also use gua sha to aid in healing all sorts of musculoskeletal injuries–it is a powerful treatment for lesions, adhesions, and scar tissue in muscles and tendons. Gua Sha does not break the skin, but can result in redness (petechiae) at the site of application that will return to normal in 1 to 3 days.
Gua Sha has the following helpful effects:
- Aids in breaking up myofascial trigger points
- Stretches and loosens restrictions in muscle and connective tissue
- Increased local blood circulation
- Stimulates tissue healing through release of growth factors
- Reduces inflammation
- has a regulatory effect on the immune system.