One day, I helped an acupuncturist to administer gua sha on her neck and back as she was feeling sore and ache from a car accident. It was my first time doing gua sha, but since it required very little skill, she let me do it on her.
To start off with, she gave me a bottle of bone-setting liquid to apply onto the area of skin which I would be scraping. When I sprayed the liquid on her skin, she squirmed as it had a strong cooling effect that was almost shocking. Nonetheless, I continued to spray while I scraped her nape.
Very soon, her skin reddened as the toxins trapped underneath the skin raised to the surface for release. So her skin turned pink, red, purple, etc. The variation of the color depends on how much is excavated, and the thickness of the toxins.
Later, she asked me to spray the liquid into a small bowl of water, and used the diluted solution for scraping instead, saying that the liquid made her uncomfortable because it was too cooling on her skin. So I used the diluted liquid on her back, and was a bit surprised that there wasn’t as much toxins rising to the surface.
Then I compared the area where I used the fully concentrated liquid which had turned dark purple, I intuitively thought, the difference in color was not because of the difference in toxin level, rather, it was due to the difference in the concentration of the liquid. I told her that, despite my having no medical knowledge nor experience in this area. She said okay, then let’s use the bottle instead, so that I wouldn’t be wasting my effort scraping for nothing.
So I used the bone-setting liquid on the same area of her spine and back, and immediately the redness appeared, with the same amount of pressure applied, which confirmed my intuition.
I observed that the areas where she felt sore and achy were the areas with more intense color, which meant more toxins coming up to the surface for release. I also intuited that her soreness and ache were a result of poor circulation–the toxins couldn’t properly flush out after her car accident.
The next day when I saw her, I asked how she felt. She said the gua sha had relieved her pain and invigorated her (improved circulation would help to energize the person). Then I learned that releasing the cause of the pain is better than taking painkiller, which only numbs the bodily sensation while keeping the cause of the pain hence not supporting the body to heal itself.
Learning through actual experience is a lot more effective than through intellectual acquisition of theory, because the former is done through the body’s ability to sense and to intuit, which is more superior than the brain’s ability to absorb knowledge from a piece of paper or a screen.
What I have also come to understand from this gua sha experience is why cupping–a different medical treatment with a similar purpose of bringing up stuck toxins to the skin surface for release thereby improving circulation–is done on selected areas of body only, and not on anywhere and everywhere. One of the reasons that I can intuit is that, toxins tend to sit (when circulation does not have the strength or cleansing agent to properly flush them out through normal channels) and collect in certain parts of the body more so than others.
I invite you to try learning through your body, using your bodily sensations to pick up information, about what’s inside and outside your body.