... despite a lack of inflammation chronic soft tissue pain is often treated with RICE; rest, ice, elevation, compression and elevation in addition to anti-inflammatory medication. Unfortunately, these strategies can be ineffective once the acute stage has passed. In most cases, treating chronic soft tissue pain with acute interventions is innefective and may prolong recovery. A good example is chronic lateral elbow pain treated with steroid injection and a counterforce brace.
Gua Sha, Inflammation and Healing
Petechiae appear similar to bruising which is why anyone unfamiliar with gua sha presumes that the technique is painful. However, in most cases raising petechiae coincides with decreased pain. The histamine response and formation of petechiae provides the appropriate stimulus. Gua sha initiates inflammation and provokes a healing response. Gua sha increases circulation, tissue temperature and restores homeostasis. Vasodilation of blood vessel occurs in response to histamine. Relaxation of smooth muscle in not confined to blood vessels; fascia also contains smooth muscle fibers. The release of abnormal fascial tone is one of the main reasons gua sha is so effective. And unlike medication the only side effect is transient skin discoloration.
Gua sha predates all methods of treating soft tissue with an edged tool. It is evidence based and effective with regard to chronic soft tissue pain. Our uniquely shaped instruments match all body contours and feature a refined, sensitive treatment edge that is ideal for gua sha and all modern instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization techniques.
Gua Sha vs Modern IASTM
Gua sha's longevity is directly linked to its effectiveness. The evidence base supports gua sha as a valid method of addressing chronic soft tissue pain. Modern techniques deemphasize sha or petechiae and focus on elimination of abnormal tissue texture. Both models are valid but success is diminished when petechiae begin to appear and treatment ends prematurely. Hesitancy to raise petechiae is common and can limit success.
The radius of the treatment edge or the relative sharpness of the edge determines how much pressure is needed to elicit a histamine response, raise petechiae and mobilize soft tissue. The radius also determines how sensitive the tool is regarding palpation of scar or chronically affected soft tissue. If the edge is too sharp, it is uncomfortable. If the edge is too dull the ability to palpate is muted and the clinician must work harder and apply more pressure to raise petechiae.
Our edge radius minimizes stress on the clinician's hand and maximizes the ability to palpate soft tissue irregularity. Our tools require very little pressure to elicit a histamine response and raise petechiae. The edge is perfectly smooth and rounded to maintain comfort and provide a safe and soothing experience for the client.
Each tool can provide a unique massage experience. The clinician can easily unlock the benefits of gua sha by gradually increasing pressure based on the client's level of comfort.
The edge is symmetrical. Unlike a beveled edge this allows the tool to be held in either the right or left hand.
Our tool shapes match the muscular contours of the body. This allows an even amount of pressure to be applied to the treated tissues. The evenly applied pressure is more comfortable for the client. And the treatment time is minimized because the tool treats a wider area of tissue to improve efficiency and minimize stress on the clinician's hand. A poorly shaped instrument will require more strokes to cover the same area.
Our tools are not heavy or bulky. Weight is reduced to minimize effort. Tools are relatively thin to enhance the ability to feel subtle abnormality within the soft tissue. Weight is further reduced with use of a plastic polymer composite material which is extremely durable, highly resistant to chemical damage and rigid. Our proprietary material allows the use of any skin lubricant and choice of any disinfectant or cleaning solution. Our confidence regarding durability merits a lifetime replacement guarantee if any tools are damaged.
Our Tools Versus Common Objects
In comparison to common objects like spoons, coins, or bottle caps, our instruments are comfortable and provide a safe and consistent edge that is never sharp, always the desired shape, professional in appearance and easy on the user's hand.
Versus Biological Materials
Unlike animal horn or wood our material is non-porous and does not soften when exposed to water. Therefore the tool can be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water or stronger chemical disinfectants. This feature ensures a safe instrument that can be used with multiple clients.
The shapes that can be achieved by carving biological material is limited. Modern manufacturing methods allow our tools to achieve the desired shape. In other words, one does not have to force the tool to fit the body.
In comparison to jade or other minerals our instruments are lightweight to reduce fatigue and will not shatter if accidently dropped.
Versus Metallic Tools
Unlike metal our tools are a poor conductor of both heat and electricity and more comfortable because they do not feel cold to the touch. Our proprietary composite material is much lighter than metal reducing user fatigue. Our material also offers a significant savings over costly metal tools.
The GuaSha Professional Tools were designed with a handle to minimize stress on the user’s hand. The handle directs pressure into the larger, more stable joints and protects the thumb CMC joint. The small joints of the fingers are also protected from undue pressure with joints resting in a slightly flexed and stable posture. The handle allows the fingertips to rest lightly on the treatment blade which enhances the ability to palpate tissue texture, allows application of firm pressure and improves control.
About our CompanyGuashatools.com was founded in 2005 by Matthew Lott, MS, OT/L, CHT. Matt is a practicing occupational therapist and certified hand therapist. He has a BA in Biology from Hiram College and BS, MS in Occupational Therapy from D'Youville College. Matt designed the tools and uses them in his daily practice. Matt also authored the treatment manuals found here. Our products are locally produced in Kent, Ohio.