What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha therapy is a technique widely practiced in Traditional Chinese Medicine often in conjunction with acupuncture, cupping, and herbal medicine. Gua means ‘to rub’ or ‘press stroke’ and Sha is a term that describes the skin’s surface response in areas where the patient may experience stiffness and pain; Sha is also the term for the redness that may appear and resolve after a few days.
How does it work?
The treatment involves press-stroking a lubricated area of the body with a smooth-edged instrument. With this technique, it activates the connective tissue and softens tissue adhesions. By removing these constrictions or stagnation, it helps to improve blood and lymphatic circulation. Research has shown that Gua Sha increased microcirculation locally to a treated area, and that increase in circulation may play a role in local and distal pain reduction.
What does it treat?
Along with treating pain conditions, Gua Sha has also been known to target the skin, the nervous system, and immune system as it interacts with one another to generate a cascade of physiological responses to the scraping. This mechanism ultimately results in therapeutic benefits in reducing pain and inflammation, increasing immune function, and overall wellbeing. Gua Sha has also been incorporated into ancient beauty rituals and has recently gained more exposure in today’s beauty industries. Some of its additional benefits include generating collagen production, addressing fine wrinkles, changing skin tone, and benefiting circulation.