Gua Sha

Gua Sha is a very ancient modality that is used not only in China, in other parts of the world as well. “Gua” means to rub, scrape or to utilize friction. “Sha” describes congestion of blood at the surface of the body.

How does it work?

Different tools may be used. As in this picture, a large porcelain spoon is being utilized. There are specific Gua Sha tools made from bone, plastic, even metal, but the technique is more important than the actual tool itself. Whatever the implement, it is used under pressure to scrape along the skin, breaking up stagnation in the body, and bringing it to the surface where it can then be released. It is mostly employed on large muscle mass areas, such as the back or shoulders. As the stagnation is brought to the surface, fresh Qi and Blood can then move into the area, helping to restore balance and allow healing to begin.

Why is Gua Sha used?

  • It moves stuck blood, promoting normal circulation to the muscles, tissues, and organs directly beneath the surface treated
  • It resolves fever: Cools the patient who is overheated, warms the patient who is chilled
  • Nourishes the patient who is deficient, and clears the patient who is excess

Are there cautions concerning Gua Sha?

When friction is applied in repeated even strokes, the sha surfaces as small red petechiae (spots upon the skin) across the area being treated. While initially, this reddening of the skin can cause concern, it is natural, not painful, and the sha disappears completely in two to four days.