I had never heard of it until I came to China.. and now I have seen just about everything. I live in the southern part of China close to Shanghai so it gets pretty warm here in the summer.. well actually it gets damn hot. I being from Florida don’t mind it much.. but I noticed that the Chinese here cannot handle the heat very well.
Once you get past the sight of everyone walking down the street with umbrellas to protect their lily white skin...(well.. lily yellow white) .. I started noticing people with big red circles on their backs, arms and long red marks down their necks and even on their faces… at first I thought that these people were getting the hell beat out of them… and that there was some kind of gang beating up people.
Then I noticed my Chinese co-worker also having these markings. So.. of course I asked them…”what the hell is wrong with your neck?” … sometimes.. I forget to be pleasant when I see crazy stuff. They told me that it is a kind of massage for heat stroke. I said… you all are having heat strokes? So you scratch yourself up??? They called it Gua Sha… (Chinese: 刮痧; pinyin: guā shā)… As you all know I had to check it out….
First online…. an ancient medical treatment..loosely translated as “to scrape away disease by allowing the disease to escape as sandy-looking objects through the skin”
Gua Sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. Commonly a Chinese soup spoon was used, or a well-worn coin, even honed animal bones, water buffalo horn, or jade. A simple metal cap with a rounded edge is commonly used. In cases of fatigue from heavy work a piece of ginger root soaked in rice wine is sometimes used to rub down the spine from head to tail. The smooth edge is placed against the pre-oiled skin surface, pressed down firmly, and then moved down the muscles, along the surface of the skin, with each stroke being about 4-6 inches long. This causes extravasation of blood from the peripheral capillaries and may result in sub-cutaneous blemishing , which usually takes 2-4 days to fade. Sha rash does not represent capillary rupture as in bruising, as is evidenced by the immediate fading and the rapid resolution of sha as compared to bruising. The color of sha varies according to the severity of the patient’s blood stasis — which may correlate with the nature, severity and type of their disorder –appearing from a dark blue-black to a light pink, but is most often a shade of red. Although the marks on the skin look painful, they are not. Patients typically feel immediate sense of relief and change.Practitioners tend to follow the tradition they were taught to obtain sha: typically using either gua sha or fire-cupping. The techniques are not used together.
Then I had to see it in person… unfortunately, the time came quickly because my husband started feeling a little ill. He told me he needed to go to the massage parlor for “Gua Sha”… I said .. I want to come alone.. one to see.. how it was done and two… I just cannot have my man going to a massage parlor alone.. just does not feel right to me… (the american visual of a happy ending.. still sticks in my mind) … anyway.. I went.. and I was freaked out.. and almost had to leave.
They took his clothes off.. except for his underwear.. and started pulling out these little fish bowl looking-glass things. They would take fire and make the bowl hot then stick it on his body. All over his body… then his skin would be sucked up into the glass bowl…. this is supposed to suck the poison out of his body through his skin.
He looked miserable.. and the hot glass bowls looked painful.. but he assured me that it did not hurt. (I still do not believe him) … this lasted about an hour.. until they had them all over his body.. they then slowly begin to take the bowls off… and his body had large bright red circle all over…. it looked like someone had beat him with a baseball bat.
However, he got up and said he felt better… just that quick.. I was amazed and sickened at the same time. I asked him .. if you did not feel well could you of just taken a Tylenol.. and a nap? But.. he swears that this is what makes him feel better…
The little massage doctor asked me if I wanted to try it… I was like.. uhh.. no thanks I will pass…
Afterward… we sat in the massage room and drank green tea and has some fruit.. while we laid there and watched TV… It was peaceful.. and my husband seemed to be getting better by the minute. After about a half hour, the guy came back in .. and declared that my honey could go home. I was still a little shaky from seeing the torture.. but beginning to think that it was kind of magic since my husband was almost completely back to normal.
As we were leaving the private room… I noticed others in different states of undress.. and having acupuncture needles and different kinds of Gua Sha being done to them… even some people being rubbed down with some BenGay like substance… that was actually heated up in a little pot.
This place was very intriguing… and I actually wanted to explore a little more.. but .. my husband said.. that most people did not want a foreigner all up in their business… while they were not feeling well. Which I had to agree would be kind of invasion of privacy.
I asked what other services were available at this place.. and I was told foot massages, and body massages were also popular. Humm… I was definitely wanting to try one of those.
After we got home.. I called my girlfriends and asked them .. if they wanted to go with me to the foot massage place .. so we could get our massage on… they were in agreement… and we decided to meet the next weekend to experience the massages.
Unlike myself.. my husband was okay with me going with my girlfriends.. to the massage place. So.. the three of us met after work.. around 9:30 pm… at the place.
We were quickly brought into a private room.. and with one of my friends being Chinese we had an interpreter handy.. to read the menu for us. We decided on the full body massage, that included a foot massage… might as well get the works. We also requested men.. not women to give our massages… (yeah.. we wanted hot men)… after a 15 minute wait… our guys arrived carrying water and towels.
I got the biggest guy… (i am assuming because in China I am the biggest woman).. my Irish friend got the medium-sized man.. and my Chinese friend the little guy. She was a bit disappointed because he was not as strong or as handsome as the others… but we just told her… make do… because we are okay… (smile)
They began with a foot massage… I have to say .. this was the most painful massage I have ever had in my life… I felt like this guy was trying to tear my feet off my body. (smile)… I had to tell him time and time again.. to take it easy… whew… he was hitting pressure points and everything else.. and had the nerve to tell me that my feet has some kind of sickness.. I was like .. yeah .. now they do after you just poked the hell out of them.
My Chinese friend on the middle bed.. was laughing because her guy was tickling her feet… they told her.. if your feet are this sensitive it means you will be afraid of your husband…. I was like .. what kind of crazy Chinese folk tale is that… but they claimed it was true… luck for me.. I wasn’t ticklish.
Soon.. they were working their way up to my legs… here is where they started taking their fists and beating on my legs.. and then squeezing them.. taking turns doing both… this … felt amazing… I could have laid there forever having that guy massage my legs and thighs… although he did get a little close to the “kitty cat”…. but .. by that time.. I was floating on air.. so I did not care…. he went to my arms.. and started the same process… until I was like butter.. then they told us the would be right back….
As we waited… we discussed how cute the guys were and how able their hands were… whew.. I really need my husband to take some classes and learn how to do this.
As the men came back they carried what looked like socks filled with beans… these beans were hot… so I am thinking roasted beans.. or little rocks… what ever they were…. they had us lay on our stomachs.. as they rubbed these hot bean/rock filled socks all over out bodies… that was better than sex… actually I started to moan a little… and so did the other girls… we then thought it would be funny to pretend to have orgasms…. and make the sounds louder… the faces on these men were priceless… since we were a little loud … they told us to shhh.. because the boss would hear and think they were doing bad things to us… that made us laugh even more.
After the sock rock massage.. they used their hands.. and started at the neck and worked their way down to our toes… Now let me just tell you guys.. this.. was the best feeling I have ever had… these boys knew exactly what to do to please this woman… whew… I just closed my eyes.. and forgot I was not alone with this man. I just let him touch me all over…. magic fingers is all I have to say….When they were done with us.. they told us that when we come back to ask for them…. my guys number was 25…. I said.. number 25 do you make house calls…. this brought a round of laughter….My Irish friend was over there telling her guy.. she loved him… (smile)… the Chinese girl just kept saying .. more.. give me more….
After they left the room… we laid there for another 20 minutes drinking our tea and just really unable to move….. of course.. as I was laying in ecstasy aftermath… my cell rang and it was my husband .. asking me if I was okay.. because I had been gone for 3 hours… I was like ..what…? We had a 3 hour massage… time sure does fly.. when you are in heaven….(smile)
We then got ourselves.. together.. and walked out of the room… our little guys were standing in the lobby area.. as we were paying… (60 rmb… about $8.50)…I had to turn to the number 25 guy… blow him a kiss and say.. thank you.. because.. I was totally satisfied…. and if that is a happy ending… I will be there every week…..
until next time….