Scraping is a traditional massage technique applied by firmly rubbing or scraping the skin in either short or long strokes with use of a scraping tool. The tools come in a large variety: stones, brushes, bones, coins, glass, bamboo, claws, and ivory, to just give some examples.
The goal of a scraping treatment (also called spooning or coining) is to alleviate colds, flus, indigestion and abdominal pains, to break down scar tissue, stimulate lymph and blood circulation, boost the immune system, soothe muscle aches, and expel toxins.
It’s thought to also combat feelings of weakness, nausea, tiredness, and joint stiffness. In more spiritually oriented traditional practices scraping may also be used to expel harmful energies and/or spirits.
Learn more about scraping massage treatments in the following paragraphs. Follow the links in the individual paragraphs for more details about a specific treatment.
Ched Haek (Ched Hak)
Ched Haek is an ancient Thai detoxification technique that generally uses claws of animals (which died naturally and without suffering) in the procedures of the treatment. During the treatment the scraping tool is wiped and rubbed on the receiver’s body, while the therapist folk healer gives prayers and chants of empowerment, meanwhile purifying, cleaning and bringing vitality and universal forces to the receiver.
Cupping therapy is applied by creating local suction on the skin. Little cups or pots of glass, bamboo, bronze, buffalo horn, or copper are placed on the skin to create a vacuum by which the skin and upper muscle layers are pulled up. Notably in so-called Dry Cupping, firm scraping, sliding and gliding on the skin can be applied also.
Guasha (Gua Sha)
The Guasha treatment is done with an oil and firmly rubbing or scraping the skin in long strokes with a blunt scraping tool, usually made of a polished stone of jade, rose quartz or marble. The scraped skin becomes quite red with stripes, but it’s believed that the treatment detoxifies the body by releasing unhealthy matter, while stimulating fresh oxygenated blood and Qi Life Energy to flow to the scraped areas promoting cell recovery and healing.
Kerokan Coin Massage is a massage technique done by firmly rubbing the edge of a coin with some oil on the outer layer of the skin. Usually, the coin technique is a full body treatment, but focused on the back, shoulders, and abdominal area.
Tongue scraping is a traditional Ayurvedic practice recommended within the Dinacharya daily routine. Tongue scrapers are traditionally made from copper, silver, gold, or tin. However, most scrapers today are made from plastic. Other materials used may be, for instance, wood, ivory, whalebone, stainless steel, and tortoiseshell.