Most people are familiar with massage or foam rolling to help release sore muscles. But what about something a little more extreme? In this week’s Intentional Living we introduce you to Gua Sha. It’s an ancient Chinese Therapy designed to provide a deeper release of the muscle. Kim Phillips is a specialist in Gua Sha who says it can do wonders for anyone from athletes to those of us who spend all day hunched over a desk.
Kim starts out saying, “most people are familiar with foam rolling or tennis ball rolling or lacrosse balls, really any kind of tool that will help release the muscle.” But Gua Sha goes a little deeper. Designed to help release the myofascial tissue of your muscles – using pressure to increase blood flow to tense areas.
Phillips says, “myofascial release is a hands on technique that uses some sort of pressure or some sort of tool to release the muscle, release the tissue and make it glide smoothly. What’s it’s designed to do is to connect the muscles and help them move and glide freely as it’s designed to be.” Anyone can benefit from this kind of deep muscle release. It’s designed to help locate the areas in your body that are holding on to tension. “I see a lot this time of year people with sinus issues, the flu, a cold, anything they just feel real achy. When you think about the flu you get muscle aches and body aches so what’s happening is that is compromising your fascia, so you’re feeling better on the inside but your muscles still feel achy. It’s because your fascia has been compromised. It likes to hold a grudge, it gets angry it doesn’t compromise so it sticks there until you release it. And people don’t know about that and how to release it.”
Finding that release can provide restorative benefits for both mind and body. “When there are knots in your shoulders and your neck. It moves up and kind of gets stuck at the base of your skull so daily headaches, seasonal headaches. If you can just release that tension that makes a difference and your headaches go away. People that have jaw pain tend to be teeth clenchers, they get knots up through the head and that causes headaches. So people come in that have had knots for years or lack range of motion, flexibility that has been compromised all these little basic things that make such a difference in daily living.”
This kind of deep release may look a little alarming. But can provide great insight about where you’re holding on to tension. Kim explains, “a side effect of Gua Sha is Petechiae, which is red dots when you’re working the skin…and that’s a cool thing on my end because it’s kind of like a road map on your body. It shows people this is where you are holding your tension. It shows body awareness. Why is this happening? What are you doing? What can you change to make you feel better? Is it your posture or the way you’re sleeping? If there’s pain hey go talk to your dentist. You may need a night guard. Are you teeth clenching? So Petechiae gives us a road map. It just looks a little crazy.”
Want to try it??? I can tell you it has made a HUGE difference in my back and neck. Kim got all of the knots and I feel so much better! Find Kim Phillips at Sha Balance & Muscle Recovery at 10101 Slide Road inside Encore Salon. Give her a call to book a session at 806-685-8146. Or head over to Facebook @ShaBalanceandMuscleRecovery or find her on Instagram @ShaBalanceandMuscleRecovery and she can help you feel better!