Child abuse is prevalent in the U. S. , about 2. 5 million children per year are victims of maltreatment. Because of this people are now very keen in observing and reporting signs of child abuse. Cao gio or the Vietnamese medical art of coin rubbing is seen as abusive by some physicians. The practice is believed to draw off and release the excess "wind" or heat energy that causes various illnesses such as colds, flu, fever, headache and muscle aches.
A mentholated balm like Tiger Balm or Vicks VapoRub is rubbed over the back, chest or shoulders, and the practitioner uses a coin to scrape the skin with short, one-direction movements until blood appears under the skin. Sometimes this method produces bruises or scrapes on the patient and this is why physicians mistake this for child abuse. It makes physicians discouraged and disparages this practice.
According to the lecture, the consequences of child abuse are problems in emotional regulation, aggression in social interactions, problems in relations with peers and teachers, academic problems, low self-esteem, depression and social withdrawal. But the fact is that most of these patients willingly take part in this procedure. They give their consent and some people even prefer this rather than western medicine. Recent studies show that when the physicians criticize this tradition, their patients become more distant from them and makes taking care of them more difficult.
Although mimicking the lesions of trauma, it is not a harmful procedure, and no complications are known. The marks that are left in the patient heal in a couple of days and was proven not to be painful and harmful. The people report a rather soothing feeling associated after this procedure and it allays their anxiety. Like any medical art, it has side effects and the benefit is far greater than the consequence. Therefore I will not consider cao gio as child abuse but rather, it is a therapeutic technique that is believed to treat various illnesses.