One of the best things about studying Traditional Chinese Medicine is that you learn many techniques that you can immediately put to use on family, friends and even clients.
Students enrolled in Oshio college’s Tui Na practitioner program learn the techniques of Chinese medical massage, as well as Gua Sha and Cupping therapies, in addition to a broad foundation in TCM history, philosophy and diagnosis.
What is Gua Sha? It is an ancient form of “friction therapy”. Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha can be translated as a reddish rash, or petechiae. Gua Sha is a friction technique that intentionally raises Sha rash or petechiae, by drawing stagnant intercellular fluid to the surface of the skin, removing toxins, and allowing fresh fluid to enter the space (usually large muscle groups on the back of the body) to regenerate and revitalize the body. Gua Sha moves stuck Qi and blood, releases the exterior (mimicking sweating) and moves body fluids. In medical terms, Gua sha allows for the movement of metabolic waste, promotes circulation and normalizes metabolic processes.
Cupping therapy has been used since approx. 300 C.E. when the famous Taoist alchemist Ge Hong described the method in his book A handbook for prescriptions for emergencies. Originally animal horns were used to create a vacuum on the surface of the skin, to move Qi and blood. Nowadays, glass cups are used predominately, with the options of bamboo or plastic also available.
It is important to warn the patients that there is a risk of bruising with both Gua sha and cupping therapies. The results ( withdrawal of toxins, promotion of circulation and a general feeling of enhanced wellbeing) are worth the temporary bruising, as fans of such therapies will tell you.
At Oshio College in Victoria, students who complete the one year program of Tui Na massage therapy learn all these techniques, as well as the foundational courses towards the 3 year Diploma of Acupuncture. This way, students can practice using Tui Na, cupping, Gua Sha and other techniques on their family, friends and patients while working towards their designation as a Registered Acupuncturist.