Cupping is used for alleviating pain in the shoulders, neck and back and can also be used to help with colds and flu. It increases the immune function and can clear infection from the chest. Skin is drawn up into glass cups and placed on different acupuncture points creating a seal. This vacuum like suction dispels stagnation of qi and blood thereby improving qi flow.
Gua sha is the practice of using a tool to apply pressure and scrape the skin to relieve pain and tension. This action causes light bruising, which often appears as purple or red spots known as petechiae or sha. The name gua sha — pronounced gwahshah — comes from the Chinese word for scraping. It may also be called skin scraping, spooning, or coining. According to traditional Chinese medicine, qi or chi is energy that flows through the body. Many people believe that a person’s qi must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure their health and wellbeing.
Gua sha is defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to produce an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single Gua sha treatment. This accounts for its effect on pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, wheeze, nausea and vomiting etc., and why Gua sha is effective in acute and chronic internal organ disorders including liver inflammation in hepatitis.