Gua Sha is an ancient healing technique used by many clinicians of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). In this procedure, a lubricating medium such as massage oil is applied to the skin of the area to be treated. Sometimes called ‘coining, spooning or scraping’, Gua Sha is defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechiae called ‘sha’ increasing microperfusion (surface circulation of blood) and diapedesis (movement or passage of blood cells, especially white blood cells, through intact capillary walls into surrounding body tissue. Also called migration.)
Modern research shows Gua Sha produces an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single Gua Sha treatment. This accounts for its effect on pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, wheeze, nausea and vomiting etc., and why Gua Sha is effective in acute and chronic internal organ disorders including liver inflammation in hepatitis.
Gua Sha Uses
Pain is the most common indication for Gua Sha. In TCM tradition, pain is oftentimes caused by the stagnation of blood and Qi in the local area of discomfort. The guiding principle behind Gua Sha is that this technique has the ability to break up stagnation, to promote the smooth flow of blood and Qi in the area, thereby relieving pain.