Treating Plantar Fasciitis with Gua Sha Traditional Chinese Folk Medicine

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I’ve had many patients complain of heel pain when they visit my acupuncture clinic. Although I have had successful treatments with acupuncture, I find that a simple stretching technique is frequently all that is needed and patients can continue to treat themselves at home after I show them the procedure.

Gua Sha is folk medicine from China, and is one modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has many applications depending on how it is performed. For plantar fasciitis, I use my Gua Sha tool (I use a porcelain Chinese soup spoon but anything with a smooth surface and an edge is fine) and scrape the sole of the foot both from heel to the balls of the feet and in the opposite direction. It’s extremely important to use a heavy cream or oil on the skin so it will glide easily. Although it doesn’t hurt, some people find it tickles, and usually provides immediate results. One of my patients jumped up and down for joy saying it was the first relief he’s had in years.

I hope this helps those of you who suffer and would like to hear about your results. You can email me at and be sure to visit my website at

Linda Stengel is a nationally board certified acupuncturist and massage therapist living in Racine, Wisconsin. She opened one of the first community-style acupuncture clinics in Wisconsin, where patients are able to choose how much to pay for acupuncture on a sliding scale between $15-40 per treatment. This allows them to return for many treatments within a short period of time, achieving quick results and spreading the word about acupuncture.

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