Gua Sha

Gua Sha is an ancient form of Chinese medicine where the practitioner takes a smooth edged instrument, usually a buffalo horn, across the skin’s surface to release Sha. This practice is a process of dispelling wind, reducing heat and inflammation, eliminating coldness and releasing pain. Visually when Sha is released it can resemble anything from a reddening to a deep, red bruise on the surface of the skin. The literal meaning of Gua Sha is “to rub out/scrape out Sha (reddening)”.

Although lesser known, Gua Sha is performed all throughout Asia; China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia. It’s used to manage pain, colds/flus, fever, headache, insomnia, high blood pressure, dizziness, fibromyalgia and fatigue.

Although it may sound slightly intense, patients in need of this sort of therapy seem to love it.  Most times, Gua Sha is performed on the back, neck, shoulders and buttocks.

How to perform Gua Sha at home:

  • For at home Gua Sha a tablespoon may be used.
  • Hold the spoon at a 45-degree angle to the area you wish to treat.
  • Begin with soft scraping for the first few strokes, then apply a little more pressure. From this point, do not get heavier with your scraping. Remain consistent, applying a suitable strength and rhythm.
  • Try to perform long (about 6–7 inches) uninterrupted strokes where possible.
  • Scrape in the same direction and always downwards – and do not scrape downwards and scrape back upwards.
  • Each stroke should be performed between 10 and 30 times before proceeding to the next area.
  • Once an area is completed, cover it up immediately with a towel to keep warm.
  • Note: Be extra careful not to scrape over any mole, varicose veins, pimple or irregular skin area. Also, do not apply Gua Sha to anyone with a bleeding disorder or a patient that is taking an anti-coagulant medication.