Gua sha (Chinese: 刮痧; pinyin: guā shā), meaning “scraping sha-bruises”, is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising. Practitioners believe gua sha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing. Gua sha is sometimes called “spooning” or “coining” by English speakers, referring to the implement used. Most practitioners use bone or jade implements specifically shaped for gua sha use.
How it’s done. This technique involves rubbing oil on the skin over specific acupuncture points, and then rubbing a sterlized coin or gua sha tool over the oiled area with a scraping motion. Rubbing results in red markings as blood is pulled to the surface;it is believe that the more severe the imbalance in that area the darker the mark will be. The procedure can be painful, depending on how hard the practitioner rubs, and the skin may be tender to the touch for a few days afterward. All the marks eventually fade, sometimes turning to a browish/yellow before going away.
How it works. Gua sha creates a suction on the skin that pulls stagnant intercellular fluid to the surface, removing toxic debris and replacing it with fresh oxygenated, nutrient-rich fluid, which in turn accelerates cellular regeneration and revitalizes the region.
What it’s used for. Gua sha is effective for any condition that arises from stagnation of body fluids. Thus, Gua Sha can be used to treat, alleviate and heal a wide range of acute and chronic conditions, including: migraines; chronic neck, shoulder and back pain; bone spurs, strains and sprains; menstrual disorders, insomnia, heart disease, hypertension, vertigo, sinusitis, ear and eye disorders, chronic infections, sciatica, osteo arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, neuralgia, asthma, cysts and tumors, carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, digestive disorders, muscle aches, breast pain, varicose veins, skin disorders, blood disorders and liver, spleen, kidney, bladder, and pancreatic stress.”