Gua Sha for the Elbow, Wrist, and Hand

Materials needed: Gua Sha, coconut oil or massage oil.

Gua Sha or “scraping” is a technique that can be used for pain relief from muscle strain or tightness. In today’s video, we will go over how to use Gua Sha to treat pain in the elbow, wrist, and hand.

There are several methods you can use to determine which areas of the arm you should scrape. One option is to reference a diagram of the muscles in the arm to pinpoint which areas you want to focus on. You can also reference The Trigger Point Manual by Janet G. Travell and David Simons. This manual contains diagrams that show pain areas and their corresponding trigger points. Another option is to scrape the entire surface area of the arm, starting on the outside of the elbow, and then moving down towards the wrist. Pay attention to which areas are most sensitive; these are the areas you’ll want to focus on.

Before you start scraping, be sure to apply lubrication to the skin like coconut oil or massage oil to avoid irritation. If you are using the Gua Sha on yourself, make sure to rest your arm on a surface while you scrape to avoid putting stress on your elbow or shoulder. To determine which direction you should scrape, first make sure you are following the direction of the muscle. Then, try scraping in both directions along the muscle to see which produces the most gristle or crunchy feeling. Once you determine which direction produces the gristle-like feeling, focus on scraping that spot until the sensation subsides. When scraping, use firm, steady pressure and avoid putting excessive force on the tissue.

When you start moving down the arm, be cautious of how much pressure you are putting on the underside of the wrist. This area has a lot of nerves and is highly vascular, which you want to avoid. Dr. Ulery recommends only scraping ver lightly on the outside of the wrist along the bones. If you are having hand pain or trigger finger symptoms, you can also scrape the palm of the hand

If you find you’re not getting much pain relief in your wrist or elbow from scraping, remember that the nerves that supply innervation down the arm originate from the neck. Oftentimes, wrist and elbow issues originate from underlying neck issues and need to be evaluated by a qualified health professional.  

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