- What is gua sha?
Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation. This ancient Chinese healing technique may offer a unique approach to better health, addressing issues like chronic pain.
In gua sha, a technician scrapes your skin with short or long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. They make these strokes with a smooth-edged tool. The technician applies massage oil to your skin, and then uses the tool to repeatedly scrape your skin in a downward motion.
Gua sha is intended to address stagnant energy, called chi, in the body that practitioners believe may be responsible for inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
Gua sha is generally performed on a person’s back, buttocks, neck, arms, and legs. A gentle version of it is even used on the face as a facial technique.
- What are the tools?
These tools are commonly flat stones or a roller, usually made from ox horn jade or other semi-precious stones like rose quartz. Ox horn and Jade are considered a Yin stone for its cooling nature to alleviate inflammation. The tools will be disinfected after each person.
- The benefits of gua sha
It’s been reported that gua sha can help relieve several health conditions. There are a number of conditions when Gua Sha can be used.
- Reduce fever
- Treat fatigue caused by exposure to heat
- Cough and difficult breathing: bronchitis, asthma, emphysema
- Muscle and tendon injuries
- Stiffness, pain, immobility
- Digestive disorders
- Urinary and gynecological disorders
- Does gua sha hurt?
Reading that gua sha involves “scraping,” might make you cringe. However, a practitioner won’t be scraping your body like a car windshield in the middle of winter. Gua sha is gentle overall, and the intensity can build depending on the types of knots that your acupuncturist encounters.
Avoid this technique if you’ve had any surgery in the last six weeks, or if you are taking blood thinners or have clotting disorders. Let the acupuncturist know if you have hypertension, heart disease or skin allergy before treatment.