A healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine, gua sha commonly involves using an instrument with a smooth edge to press-stroke or scrape lubricated skin in one direction for the purpose of increasing circulation and releasing stagnant blood and toxins. When more blood and oxygen flow to the area that is treated, the body responds more efficiently and healing can take place.
The word gua means to scrape or rub, and sha has a couple of meanings. First, gua refers to the reddish speckled rash on the skin that appears after treatment. The stroking motions of gua sha — generally not painful — can cause capillaries near the skin surface to bleed, which causes red or purple streaks to appear along with the stroke pattern. The streaks disappear in a few days. As strokes are applied, fluids and toxins are drawn to the skin. Secondly, sha refers to stagnant blood or qi that is blocking the proper flow of energy and blood in the pathway of the channel.
Gua sha, similar to cupping therapy, is used as a preventative or as a first-aid treatment for common conditions such as common cold, flu, headache, asthma, bronchitis and both chronic and acute pain. It’s also used to stimulate the immune system, detoxify the body and release fevers as the scraping brings excess heat and toxins to the surface of the skin. Also this healing technique is a great ancillary treatment to reduce pain and inflammation through promoting circulation in the muscles and other deep tissues. We use it for injuries, muscle spasms generally, inflammation, mobility, and long-standing chronic tension that's causing either local pain or organ dysfunction.
Gua sha is a simple, safe and very effective way to treat many conditions and promote overall health and wellness.