Gua Sha, pronounced “Gwa Sha,” is an ancient healing technique that helps to break up scar tissue, adhesions, and blood stasis in the muscles, fascia, and acupuncture meridians. Gua Sha can be loosely translated to “scraping sand” or “scraping away illness through the skin.” A tool that looks like a soup spoon or a piece of jade lightly scrapes different areas of skin where there are blockages in the flow of qi and blood. This scraping technique will bring up little red dots, or “Sha”, to the surface of the skin by breaking up blood stasis in the affected area. This process also helps to bring toxins to the peripheral circulation so the body can more easily eliminate them. The color of the “Sha” that is brought to the skin surface can range from light red to dark purple, depending on the severity and duration of blood stasis, and will look much worse than it feels! Having Gua Sha performed by a trained acupuncturist feels like a deep tissue massage, and some areas can feel very tender, but not painful. After your treatment, it is important to drink water to help your body eliminate toxins, keep the treated area covered, and not expose it to cold, wind, or water. The “Sha” that appeared will fade over a couple of days.
Gua Sha is most often used for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain and muscle tension, but it can also be used to effectively treat the common cold, flu,respiratory disorders such as asthma and bronchitis, and emotional conditions, such as anxiety and stress. Gua Sha very effectively breaks up adhesions and scar tissue, and helps restore proper range of motion and reduce pain for musculoskeletal conditions.