Gua Wha?

So, my back looked like this last week:

Nope, it’s not road rash.  No, I haven’t been secretly dating Chris Brown.

I sought out a chiropractor for my neck issues that have been going on for at least a year at this point and found an integrated wellness clinic practically in my backyard!  They do traditional chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, gua sha (which is what I had done), allergy elimination and tie everything together with a big emphasis on nutrition.

He’s the fifth chiro I’ve been to and have also tried massages, physical therapy and other forms of stress relief.  One of the many reasons I started yoga was the thought that it would loosen up my back muscles.

None of that has really helped, but I’m very happy I found this new chiropractor.  He diagnosed – as I’ve considered before – a disc issue and I’ve been doing spinal decompression.  That misalignment in my spine has been pulling my muscles, so that’s where the gua sha comes in.

The gua sha tool, just a smooth-edged piece of plastic about the size of a credit card, but stronger, is scraped over the skin to bring stagnant blood to the surface, releasing the knots. It’s like intense myofascial release.  It also is useful in releasing toxins, and I’m crunchy enough to be excited about that.

He scraped all over my upper back and neck (except the spine), so the strange pattern is a result of where the stasis actually was. The color of mine was pretty uniform – and red is pretty normal and healthy – but I found out that it can range from pink to a more bruise-like blue/purple/black depending on how long the blood has been pooling.

And for the record, it looks terrible, but feels great.  Well, the actual therapy doesn’t feel good or bad really, but the quick results feel great and the “bruise,” which is more like a rash, doesn’t hurt like a bruise.

The first session on my back helped a lot and an additional session on my neck two days later has started to ease things that have been out of whack for a long time.  And the sha (rash) was gone in about two days.

The most important part of fixing my issue is sticking with a doc and a plan through feeling better and a little beyond and I’ve always known that, but I haven’t found the right combo until now.  I ran eight pain-free miles tonight, so I think we’re definitely on the right track.

Once this issue kind of subsides, I think I’ll even look for a gua sha practitioner for monthly all-over back muscle treatment (I get way too tight) – it’s that good!

Have you discovered any alternative treatments that really work for you?  Would you go out in public looking like you got smacked with a two-by-four?


7 thoughts on “Gua Wha?

  1. Yikes! At least it feels better than it looks!

    I visited a chiropractor for my knee pain – we did lots of PT and other adjustments to try to get them back in shape. I love that it’s a healthy alternative versus taking a pill or getting surgery 🙂

  2. Wow! I am glad it feels better than it looks – it looks painful!
    I’d be all about running up and down the streets in my bathing suit with those marks showing if it meant being painfree.
    I am constantly with neck and back pain that it hurts if someone squeezes my neck or shoulders in affection and massage therapists always ask if I “am a lawyer with all that stress.”

  3. If it helped my injury, of course I would, lol! I’m a bit crunchy, too, that’s why I like dry needle therapy on my IT bands and gluteus medius. It’s sickeningly pleasant and soothing. Glad you are feeling better!

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