IASTM: Gua Sha

Gua Sha, a traditional East Asian technique, is lacking in research that supports its effectiveness. This IASTM technique works to recirculate an individual’s chi, the energy around the body, by applying pressure to the skin using specific tools which ultimately causes bruising. It is used to stimulate muscle relief and treat common musculoskeletal disorders including back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendon strains. 

According to an article published in Medical News Today, professionals that use Gua Sha in practice claim that it “can also benefit the immune system and reduce inflammation.” Bruising is a sign of increased inflammation, not a sign of reduced inflammation. 

By stimulating these microtraumas in practice using Gua Sha, the treatment fails to promote healing, and instead causes the muscles to cycle between inflammation and proliferation. Gua Sha’s apparant failure to properly work through the proliferation phase likely inhibits its patients from reaching full healing and promotes an increase in scar tissue, rather than a reduction in the original amount. 

ASTR treatment understands the healing cycle and how to properly work through inflammation and proliferation to reach the final maturation phase without causing pain or bruising. Using more specialized maneuevers and more comfortable tools for both the patient and the therapist, ASTR benefits its patients and promotes proper healing of scar tissue.