No that’s not a rash or bruises from a car accident – this viral image of a woman’s back covered in painful-looking red marks was actually caused by her job.
According to Leicester-based massage therapist and healer Hitesth Patel, the image she shared of her client Grace Campbell came from the stresses of Campbell’s job.
What does Campbell do for work, you ask? Is she carrying heavy equipment or working as a stunt double?
No, Campbell works as a hairdresser, and hunching in awkward positions as she cuts clients’ hair all day is causing her back issues.
Patel is giving Grace a therapy called gua sha to release “stagnation” in her muscles, and afterwards, the red marks known as petechiae appeared on Campbell’s skin.
“With a job that involves holding a static position for a long time you build up stagnation in the blood flow which accumulates in muscle and causes pain,” said Patel. “Through gua sha the body releases the stagnated tissue stored in the muscles. The red marks indicate where the damaged tissue is.”
While petechiae look like a rash or bruising, it is in fact blood cells that have been pressed out of the capillaries during the gua sha treatment.
As the body begins to reabsorb the blood cells, the body’s circulation improves, creating an anti-inflammatory effect.
“Depending on how damaged that area is it can go from a light pink colour to very dark black purple colour,” Patel said. “Light pink indicates just every day fatigue, red marks show little bit more tiredness and damage. When it goes purple and black indicate old very stagnant stubborn double inch which might take a little bit longer to deal with.”
Gua sha, meaning “scraping bruises,” is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the one’s skin is scraped, producing the light bruising seen in Campbell above.
You can watch David Wolfe demonstrate gua sha therapy in the videos below.