Gua Sha is a healing technique that intentionally raises Sha, or petechiae, to aid in the movement of Qi, blood, and other fluids containing metabolic waste that congest surface tissues and muscles. Gua means to scrape or rub and Sha describes blood stasis in the tissue before and after it is raised. Sha may be visible as a reddish, elevated skin rash or spots.
Gua Sha promotes circulation and normalizes metabolic processes. It is a valuable treatment for both external and internal pain and is an excellent treatment for acute and chronic disorders. If a patient experiences aches, pain, tenderness and/or knotty feeling muscles associated with an acute or chronic disorder, Gua Sha may be applied. Gua Sha may also be used to prevent and treat flu, bronchitis, asthma, and the common cold.
Sha is raised primarily on the neck, shoulders, back, buttocks, and limbs. Occasionally, Gua Sha is applied on the abdomen and chest. During Gua Sha, the area being worked is lubricated with oil and the skin is rubbed with either a soup spoon or water buffalo horn in a downward motion. The area is scraped until the petechiae is completely raised. If there is no blood stasis in the area being treated, no petechiae will form and the skin will only turn pink. If Sha is purple or black, the blood stasis is long standing. If brown, the blood may be dry. Dark red Sha can indicate heat, and light Sha may suggest deficiency of blood. Bright red Sha indicates recent penetration.
After Gua Sha, the petechiae should fade in 2-4 days. If it is slower to fade this could be a sign of deeper stagnation or organ deficiency. The practitioner must ascertain whether the deficiency is of the blood, Qi or yang.
Gua Sha is a completely safe technique. In many cases, the patient feels an immediate shift in their condition for the better. We recommend rest after treatment. We also ask that patients refrain from alcohol, drugs, sex, feasting, fasting, or hard labor (including working out) for the rest of the day of the treatment. If you must be active, we suggest keeping it to a minimum. Let yourself heal!