How does it work?
In gua sha, a practitioner 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 instrument known as a gua massage 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 most often used to relieve muscle and joint pain. Conditions of the muscles and bones are known as musculoskeletal disorders. Some examples include back pain, tendon strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Gua sha may also relieve symptoms of other conditions:
- women near menopause
- people with neck and shoulder pain from computer use
- male weightlifters, to help with recovery after training
- older adults with back pain
What to Expect
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. Practitioner may apply mild pressure, and gradually increase intensity to determine how much force you can handle.
Gua sha sessions last 30〜40 minutes using slow scraping and even methods.
The first treatment should be shorter. Less than 20 minutes is best for weak or thin patients. After scraping, the same part of the body should not be treated for 5〜7 days. The second and later guasha sessions should be on areas that have not yet been scraped and are clear of sha or tenderness.
The time it takes for sha to disappear depends on the constitution, disease, body part, darkness of the sha and scraping duration.