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Holographic Gua Sha: A Practical Microsystem Handbook

Holographic Gua Sha: A Practical Microsystem Handbook

Автором Clive Witham

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Holographic Gua Sha: A Practical Microsystem Handbook

Автором Clive Witham

291 pages
1 hour
Jan 6, 2020


Transform how you use Gua sha with the knowledge of microsystems and holographic imaging. Apply Gua sha to distant parts of the body and treat digestive issues, shoulder pain, headaches, stiff necks, backache, coughs and colds, fever, insomnia, elbow pain, dizziness, nausea and many more common ailments. In his third Gua sha book, Clive Witham shows you how you can utilize knowledge of body microsystems on the scalp, ears, chest, back, arms, legs, hands and feet to maximize the effects of any treatment and enhance how you approach Gua sha as a therapeutic tool. Written for practitioners of any health and wellness discipline, it includes over 300 b/w images of tried and tested approaches to using Gua sha on patients, clients, family members and even yourself.
Jan 6, 2020

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Clive Witham is a licensed acupuncturist and runs an acupuncture clinic in a Spanish enclave in North Africa where he promotes Oriental ideas of healing and self-treatment. He has trained in the UK, China, Thailand and Japan, and is also a Member of the British Acupuncture Council.

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Holographic Gua Sha - Clive Witham

Holographic Gua Sha: A Practical Microsystem Handbook



The right of Clive Witham to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998.

Published in January 2020 by Mangrove Press, UK.

ISBN: 978-0-9561507-9-0

All rights reserved. The contents of this book may not be reproduced in any form, except for short extracts for quotation or review, without the written permission of the publisher and author.

Illustrations © Clive Witham

Body: Ewelina Kowalska, iiuliawhite; abdominal arteries: Sebastian Kaulitzki; sole: OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]; neck: urrra.

Disclaimer: The information in this book is given in good faith and is neither intended to diagnose any physical or mental condition nor to serve as a substitute for informed medical advice or care. Please contact your health professional for medical advice and treatment.

Neither the author nor the publisher can be held liable by any person for any loss or damage whatsoever which may arise from the use of this book or any of the information herein.

Dedicated to three special people: 睦美, 嵐 and 桂吾.


More by default than by design, I find myself here once again, writing the third volume of what has become a series on Gua sha. I have said it before and I will say it again, writing books is a very unhealthy pastime. When you are not tapping away seated at a desk, you are raiding the fridge like some hungry teenager, or taking a break by sneakily watching an online episode at the very same desk. It is all very unnatural. Every time I finish a book, I vow never to do it again. But here I am. In the thick of it once more.

So what brought me to break the promise I made to myself has several reasons. One of them is age. With age comes experience and, in my case, this have given me a clearer insight and an ability to connect the dots that I just did not have when I was too full of youthful fervour and zest. Another is more knowledge. The result of endless hours collecting, reviewing, testing and refining. But maybe it was more the nagging feeling that there was unfinished business in what I had to say about Gua sha. After the first book, there was so much that I left out that I wrote another book but there was still plenty left over after that too. So in this final instalment, I have tried to squeeze in every last drop of knowledge in the hope that there is no more left to tell and I can get up from in front of my screen and be a normal person again.

Another important reason, and this perhaps trumps all the others, is the dramatic climate changes affecting all of us. The days appear to be numbered for our current lifestyles and society is on the cusp of change. The ancient Chinese had based their medicine on the gentle transition of seasons throughout the year which followed patterns laid down from the motions of the universe. These patterns are the same ones which gave us our form and the form of everything around us and we are just as susceptible when those patterns suddenly change. Climate change therefore has the capacity to create havoc not just with the weather but with the ebb and flow of our body circulation as it can no longer stay in sync with the seasons. This difficulty in keeping everything in balance has the potential to increase ill-health and will not easily be fixed with a bottle of pills.

And this is where knowledge of Gua sha comes in. It is part of a mind-set which brings us back to the natural world and our place within it and as we transition out of the addictive madness of modern pharmaceutical medicine, gives us a measure of control over our bodies and the balance between health and ill-health. I have always viewed the knowledge of Gua sha as something which flourished outside of socio-economic grouping norms. It was and still is a folk medicine in East Asia, passed down from generation to generation like a secret family recipe or a grandma’s chicken soup. It is a democratised medical technique which allows families and communities to assert some control over their health and well-being. It is for this reason that Gua sha is so important in terms of the situation we find ourselves in at present. It is low tech, uncomplicated to learn and extremely effective at helping to prevent illness and restore vitality to our bodies.

In the first two books, I introduced the basic principles of Gua sha with the channel circulation system and the muscle groupings. In this book, we look at imaging the body on different body parts and the application of holograms in choosing treatment areas. Although it veers more onto the side of the practitioner, it is still like the other two books in that it is written for everyone to use. This is in the firm belief that, true to its roots, we all should have the chance to learn and use it in whatever situation we may be in.

The big difference in this volume is that I sometimes break with convention in explaining the body and its processes within Chinese medicine. For example, if you compare some of the channel maps with standard modern TCM charts, you will find some differences. This is not because I have invented new ones, far from it, I am actually basing the maps on the oldest known descriptions of the channel systems from the classic Huangdi Neijing text. There are also descriptions of organs and relationships between organs which again may not fit with the norm and again are from the Neijing text. My reasoning behind this is that it makes so much more sense in terms of both understanding and applying Gua sha treatments. I am hugely grateful to Dr Edward Neal of the Xinglin Institute for his insights and translations which helped me in my attempts to understand classical ideas of Chinese medicine and then apply them to Gua sha.

Much of this book talks about microsystems. This is when therapeutic treatments are developed on one specific part of your body to treat other parts and you will discover that I include the scalp, ear, back, chest, arms, hands, legs and feet in this book. Some of these may be familiar to you, perhaps the foot microsystem which has been popularised with reflexology, and some may be new, perhaps the arm and leg imaging which are used in some styles of acupuncture.

I first started using microsystems as a freshly minted acupuncturist at the start of this century. And probably like most acupuncturists if they are brave enough to admit it, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I thought I knew what I was doing and to anyone watching, they too would think that I knew what I was doing, but like a grand old oak tree looking back at its acorn, I now see how far I was from knowing what I was doing. I used to treat patients for smoking addiction with miniature acupuncture needles in the ear and followed the stop-smoking-protocol which consisted of a list of points. I loved protocols. It was like colour-by-numbers. Number 1 is black, number 2 is red, number 3 is green...You do not need to think too much, just choose the right colour and paint it on the right number. It is not exactly true to the spirit of the ancient creators of Chinese medicine, but I was taught so many treatment protocols that they were coming out of my ears. I just thought that this was how acupuncture was. So I figured I just had to put the needles in the right points on the ear and wait for the magic to happen. It was all good. Except that it really did not work that well.

Instead of a beautiful numbered painting, I was getting something more akin to a smudge. I tried again and again but sometimes it worked, in which case I convinced myself I was a great, masterful healer and sometimes it did not, in which case I was a worthless charlatan. It was not until a patient told me that although she was still smoking, her chocolate addiction had gone, that I started wondering. I then started quizzing the patients more. A relieved back pain here, a drug habit reduced there, a coke (the drink) addition, a headache, a depression. All sorts of symptoms were changing but not necessarily the one I had aimed for. So instead of being organised, the colour-by-numbers acupuncture was throwing out chaotic results. This led me to make two observations. One was that, by default, the ear microsystem clearly worked. The second was protocols are all well and good, but you have to know how to use them properly. It was clearly more than colour-by-numbers.

One of the most important microsystems in terms of Gua sha is to be found on the back. It is not often thought of as a microsystem but it is one all the same. We would often use it in the clinic as an X-ray of sorts. I would scrape either side of the back and the body would let me know where the problem is by turning red or purple in a particular place. Sometimes it would come out with no marks at all, which was information in itself. And sometimes as if almost out of nowhere, the whole back became a crimson watercolour. That, of course, is just as informative.

When I say scrape, I do not mean as one would remove the first layer of wallpaper from the wall. Nor that scraping with mathematical or scientific precision. In fact quite the opposite. With Gua sha you want to be more like an artist than a scientist. As an artist you listen to the body, you respond to it as a living breathing organism, which if you listen hard enough, will lead you to where problems are. If you run roughshod over the back trying to make it as red as it can possibly be to ‘expel toxins’, ‘drain the channels’ or some other denatured generalisation, and do not tune yourself into what the body is subtly telling you by tension, you are not being an artist. This kind of sensitivity is often lacking in Gua sha treatments.

It is within this context that you should see the treatment guides in the later section in the book. You can read them as colour-by-numbers protocols in which you blindly follow the instructions no matter what, or you see them as guides to help you explore what the unique body in front of you may be presenting. If you feel an area and quite clearly there is no tautness, or the tension is felt somewhere else, then the rule is to listen and respond to the body. After all, it is the body which fixes everything, you are just the glorified plunger, unblocking the sink. The really complicated bit is done by the body’s own regulatory systems which despite the impression modern medicine would have you believe, is just as mysterious as ever.

This book is essentially the culmination of a decade’s work in three continents and is borne out of the clinic rather than textbooks. You may have spotted it by now, but my background is not academic. Those genes were passed to other members of my family. I am happy to read report after report, study after study and book after book and end up spending far too much of my time immersed in information. But while academic writing is something that I can do if my arm is twisted behind my back and I pound the table screaming I give in! I’ll do it! It is not where my heart lies. My preference is to be in the trenches, battling alongside patients, working out what is wrong, why and how to fix it. Sometimes this means throwing books out of the window and starting afresh.

And so this is essentially the background of this book, I have used the knowledge I have collected, and tested it out in my clinic in North Africa over ten years. Because of the location, I did not have easy access to a great deal of information nor could I escape out of the Riff mountains without some effort, so it was not a case of expanding outwards gaining new things but focusing inwards using the things I

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