What is Gua Sha?

Gua ShaGua Sha is an ancient therapy practiced in traditional Chinese medicine that is used to relieve the stagnation of blood that obstructs surface tissues and inhibits organ function. The meaning of the Chinese character “Gua” is to rub or to scrape while the second character “Sha” means a reddish and raised area of skin. Literally in Chinese "Gua Sha" means "to scrape away fever".

The Gua Sha technique facilitates healing of the body by pressing or “scraping” the skin repeatedly with certain blunt, rounded tools such as a soup spoon, a slice of jade or a coin. Special therapy oil is applied on the skin first before it is scraped so the client does not feel any pain during the therapy. The strokes are repeated until the Sha appears, resulting in the appearance of red, elevated patches on the treated area.

Likewise, the client shouldn’t feel any pain after the session. Gua Sha will not damage the skin and the Sha rashes or bumps should be gone within two to four days. If the Sha takes longer to fade, it means the client has poor blood flow and is likely to have either a blood or Qi deficiency or an underlying organ deficiency.

There are two scraping methods in Gua Sha. The first one, meridian scraping, is a combination of acupressure with subcutaneous skin scraping while the second one, holographic scraping, involves scraping certain body points that correspond to the affected body organ.

Gua Sha is a versatile preventive, curative and strengthening TCM technique. It is particularly effective in relieving body pain from headaches to shoulder, neck, back and joint pains as well as nerve pains, PMS, rheumatism and osteoporosis. Gua Sha is also helpful in the treatment of diseases that are brought about by functional imbalance of an internal organ.

Being a practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Gua Sha aims to treat the person as a whole and not just his or her specific ailments. Therefore, to summarize its health benefits, Gua Sha stimulates the immune system, eliminates toxins from the body, restores the body’s PH balance, improves circulation, regulates organ functions, relieves pain, revitalizes Qi, reduces stress and fatigue, and restores emotional harmony and mental clarity.