The more services you offer your patients, the higher your revenue potential and gua sha therapy is one viable option.
But adding to your practice by increasing what you can do for your patients has additional benefits as well. ConnectWise contributor Craig Fulton shares that taking this approach also makes you more competitive against the other service providers in your area, increases your overall business value, and enhances customer loyalty as you position yourself as a health professional who can meet more than just one of their needs.
These are just some of the reasons why many DCs elect to expand their practices to include additional services such as massage therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, and a variety of other treatment options created to help the body naturally heal itself.
One additional treatment remedy to consider is gua sha therapy.
Scott Schreiber, DC, is double board certified in rehabilitation and clinical nutrition and he says that, along with other treatment-based services such as kinesiology taping, foot orthotics, and Department of Transportation (DOT) medical exams, he offers gua sha in his chiropractic practice. But what is gua sha?
What gua sha is
Schreiber shares that this particular treatment option is a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique which involves using a Chinese spoon or similar specially designed tool “to scrape the tissue back and forth, producing redness and bruising.”
The intent of this process is to “relieve ‘congestion’ in the muscle tissue,” he says, further explaining that westernized medicine generally refers to this same congestion as simply “tight muscles or knots.”
“Fast forward to modern medicine, gua sha has evolved to be called Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM),” says Schreiber. By using this technique to break up adhesions to the fascia using IASTM, Dr. Schreiber says that the patient enjoys “a smoother muscle contraction, decreased tension and pain relief.”
In a 2015 press release issued by the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Arya Nielsen explains that gua sha is technically “a part of acupuncture therapy, but not limited by law to acupuncture practice.” Nielson goes on to say that researchers have found this technique beneficial to reducing inflammation and treating conditions such as “headache, migraine, neck, shoulder, back, and knee pain.”
Nielson also says that gua sha offers benefits when it comes to “acute diseases such as fever, flu, earaches, ashthma and bronchitis in children and adults” as well. Chinese Medicine Living explains that this remedy is effective when it comes to treating these types of issues “as scraping brings the excess heat and toxins to the surface of the body to be released.”
“Gua sha or IASTM is a great complement to any chiropractic practice,” says Schreiber. “It adds depth and variety to any chiropractor’s tool box.”
The one word of caution that Schreiber does offer though, should you decide to take this route, is to “make sure the patient is aware that bruising is likely and that they will be sore after treatment.” Knowing this up front can ease their post-treatment concerns.
Promoting gua sha treatment in your chiropractic practice
Schreiber says that he promotes gua sha therapy in his chiropractic practice both “during the initial examination or re-examination. It is also on our website, in pamphlets, etcetera,” he says, utilizing traditional marketing methods to let current and future patients know that he offers this service.
There are also certain populations that you may want to approach about the benefits of gua sha, shares Schreiber, revealing that his athletic patients tend to request this particular service. Therefore, you may want to make sure your sports-playing patients are aware that you offer gua sha in your practice.
Finally, Schreiber suggests that you simply use the same process of promotion that you use with any other technique or service that you offer.
“Get the word out and create a buzz in your community,” he says. Basically, share what gua sha therapy is and how it helps. Get your patients (and the community around you) excited enough to try it.