At Nature’s Touch, we are continuously expanding our minds and seeking new techniques to provide our clients with the best and most effective therapies possible. Recently, three of our massage therapists attended a training seminar to learn two ancient healing techniques that have been practiced around the globe for thousands of years: Tok Sen and Gua Sha. They may be hard to pronounce but the benefits of these two practices couldn’t be more clear.
Read on to learn about these amazing techniques and how they can benefit you.
What is Tok Sen Massage?
Tok Sen massage is an ancient form of healing from northern Thailand that has been practiced for thousands of years. Although there is not much written on the history on Tok Sen, it is believed that its origins are credited to farm workers in the paddy fields. After a long day’s work, the farmers developed the simple technique of tapping “sen” lines in order to release tension and pain.
Tok-Sen is based on the belief that every individual has energy flowing through them.[i] This energy works in harmony with the body to ensure all systems work together, resulting in a person that is happy and healthy. Due to the stressors of everyday life, this flow of energy can become blocked leading to pain or other chronic health conditions associated with stress. Tok Sen massage works to open up these blockages to reduce inflammation and promote consistent energy flow.
How Does It Work?
The technique involves the use of a special wooden hammer and wedge, made from the bark of the tamarind tree, and used to relax muscles in a rhythmic tapping motion. Tok means to hammer or hit and sen refers to the energy pathways in the body.
This method of tapping causes a healing vibration throughout the body. It helps to alleviate physical aches and pains, muscle tension, energy blockages, blood circulation and nerve problems.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is another ancient healing technique used by many clinicians of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has gained western attention for the temporary red marks it leaves on the body, similar to a cupping technique.
This method of treatment was developed based on the premise that scraping the superficial layers of skin releases blood stagnation in areas of the body, bringing red blood cells to the surface tissues to release heat and toxins. Increased blood flow and free flowing oxygen to the muscles and tissues decreases pain and stress, allowing those areas to heal faster. It’s been practiced for thousands of years as a method to treat physical ailments but also to promote overall wellness and longevity.
How Does It Work?
In this procedure, a lubricating medium, such as massage oil, is applied to the skin of the area to be treated. A smooth-edged instrument is used by the therapist to apply short or long strokes across the skin, typically in the area of pain or on the back parallel to the spine. As the stroking motion increases red blood cells and releases toxins, painless, raised redness called “petechiae” appear and usually away within two to four days. Gua Sha can be practiced on most areas of the body but is usually done on the back, shoulders, neck or chest.
Who Is A Candiate for Tok Sen and Gua Sha?
As we tell all our clients, let us know about any pre-existing health concerns or skin ailments before your treatment. Most people can benefit from these techniques but if you are pregnant, taking blood thinners, or have suffered any recent burns or damage to the skin, talk with your doctor before receiving any treatment.