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The science of guasha

Date(s): 17 November 2016

Time: 10am - 5pm

Eligibility: Acupuncture graduates and 2nd year & 3rd year students

Acupuncturists know Gua sha as a healing technique of traditional East Asian medicine used in treating pain or acute illness associated with exterior ‘blood stasis’. But most acupuncturists are unaware of the research and therapeutic reach of Gua sha, which, in certain conditions, is more relevant clinically than acupuncture. Nor are they aware of the immediate and significant Tongue changes associated with Gua sha that can indicate the depth and direction of an acute disorder.

Modern research shows Gua sha produces an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single Gua sha treatment. This can account for the impact of Gua sha on pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, wheeze, nausea, vomiting, thermal dysregulation etc., and why Gua sha is effective in acute and chronic internal organ disorders and disease including liver inflammation in hepatitis, renal, lung, cardiovascular disease and so on. 

This day with Dr. Nielsen details the evidence for Gua sha, demonstrates how to palpate for ‘sha’, proper application of Gua sha and points to frequency and dosage for internal organ disease states. Dr. Nielsen will also describe new standards for Gua sha and Ba guan safety.

Course Objectives

  1. Introduce the science and evidence for the clinical effect of Gua sha.
  2. Demonstrate how to palpate for ‘sha’; proper application of Gua sha
  3. Describe frequency and dosage for internal organ disease conditions.
  4. Immediate and significant Tongue changes as a direct result of Gua sha
  5. Safety Guidelines for Gua sha and Ba guan
  6. Guide students and practitioners in the process on becoming Gua sha practitioners.


Arya Nielsen, PhD is an American acupuncturist taught in the classical lineage of Dr. James Tin Yau So. She graduated in the first class of the first acupuncture college in the United States in 1977. She is a practitioner, teacher, author and researcher and is considered the Western clinical authority on Gua sha.
Dr Nielsen has an academic research doctorate and a faculty appointment at a New York teaching hospital, Mount Sinai Beth Israel where she directs the Acupuncture Fellowship for Inpatient Care. Her research includes both the physiology and therapeutic effect of Gua sha, acupuncture therapies for acute care and inpatient setting as well as research on the treatment of chronic pain in underserved populations.
Dr. Nielsen is the author of the textbook Gua Sha, A Traditional Technique for Modern Practice and directs the Gua sha Certification Course with ProD Seminars as well as courses in Acupuncture Safety, Ethics, and Inpatient/Hospital-based Acupuncture Care.


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