Today I saw a girl getting her back scraped by a man on a bed on the sidewalk. It is called coin scraping or Kos Khyal in Khmer and it is a very common treatment when you have a cold, fever or back pain here in Cambodia. It is believed to originate from China where it is called Gua Sha. They first put oil or tiger balm on the skin and then they scrape the skin with a spoon, a coin or an instrument made from buffalo horn or wood. The scraping normally leaves marks on the skin that can look like you have been beaten.
The first time I saw one of my Cambodian colleagues with these marks I thought he had been in fight, until he told me that his wife had treated him the night before because he was starting to get a fever. When he told me about the method I was very skeptical, why would something that you almost can describe as abuse help when you are getting sick? Since then I have read a lot about it and the next time I get a fever in Phnom Penh I will try it myself to see if it really works.