Over the last year, I began experimenting with muscle scraping. Using the tool, you scrape your skin, which is thought to help relieve tension and stimulate blood flow to the area. This technique can also be called gua sha and has been used in traditional East Asian medicine. This blog post will cover how I use this tool, the benefits I have seen, and some precautionary statements to ensure you are using it safely.

How Do I Use the Muscle Scraping Tool?

Normally, therapists use the scraping tool to the point where the skin is bright red and may result in bruising. This happens because of repeated in the same area with high pressure. I normally scrape my calves and forearms, but I make sure to use massage lotion, do not put much pressure on the muscles, and maybe only do one spot for ten to twenty seconds. Doing it for this long with everything else reduces the likelihood you will damage the muscle tissue to a great extent. If I use my technique daily or every other day, I notice significant benefits similar to people who may do it once a week and cause significant damage to the issue, which is visible in the number of bruises and redness of the areas. For those with muscular dystrophy, it is critical not to use this technique to significantly damages the muscles but in a light manner that can cause the same benefits if done more frequently. 

Another thing I am eager to try is the facial gua sha. A therapist recommended I try this technique, but not to use the same one I used to scrape other areas of my body. You should purchase a gua sha made out of something natural like a crystal or other natural minerals/rock and only use it for your face area. The same therapist mentioned that soaking the natural gua sha for your face in moonlight can help make it more effective, so I would encourage discovering that for yourself if you are interested. Gothamista’s video “Facial Gua Sha and Acupressure Massage | Gothamista” gives a tutorial for facial massages.

What Benefits Have I Seen With the Tool?

The first benefit I noticed with the tool for my forearms and calves is that I could reduce tightness in the areas. The Achilles heel has always been tight for me, and this tool helps reduce the stiffness in the areas. When paired with stretching and vibration, these techniques do wonders in reducing the tightness in the area. The second benefit I noticed was that it was harder to bruise and make the area red. When I began, I accidentally bruised myself a few times and caused some areas to be red. After doing it for a few weeks, I no longer accidentally did this, suggesting that my calves and forearms can handle more stress before being damaged. I believe that my muscles have become more resilient to stress and damage, reducing the inflammation in these areas. Other than these main benefits, my muscles in the forearms and calves had more endurance before tiring, it feels nice, and it could be stimulating blood flow to these areas, but that is merely speculation.

Precautionary Statements of Muscle Scraping

Medical News Today’s article “Gua sha: What you need to know” states that people who have medical conditions affecting the skin or veins, bleed easily, take medication to thin their blood, have deep vein thrombosis, an infection, tumour or wound, or an implant, such as a pacemaker or internal defibrillator should avoid using the treatment. If bruising does occur, you should make sure you give it time to heal and may benefit from icing the area. Although I have yet to do this, it is possible for you to break the skin, so make sure you clean the scraping tools you use to be safe. 

Final Word on Muscle Scraping

For those with muscular dystrophy, you should make sure you are safe with the scraping tools and avoid bruising or irritating the skin in the area. I am recommending an approach of frequent and light treatments instead of the traditionally heavy treatments that cause bruising. I love using this tool and have witnessed various benefits, leading me to continue using it today and recommend it to others.