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Gua sha therapy - benefits

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese therapy that originates from traditional Chinese medicine and dates back thousands of years. It uses an object to scrap the skin, with applied pressure, relieving muscle tension and stagnation in the acupuncture channel there thereby alleviating pain.

Traditional gua sha tools included animal horns that were used as a massage tool to scrap the skin. Other popular tools include jade, rose quartz, spoons, coins and even jam jar lids. Lubricant oil, such as hong hua oil is applied to the skin before starting the treatment, otherwise it can irritate the skin more and it will feel uncomfortable. Hong hua oil is the preferred option as it's used in Chinese herbal medicine to invigorate blood, which is what gua sha therapy does to the body. Alternatively you can use vegetable or olive oil. Hong hua oil aids the movement of energy and blood, so works together with the treatment and is better than using essential oils.

Gua sha therapy is still practiced today in countries such as China and Vietnam.

The scrapping feeling isn't painful but can be a little uncomfortable. It's definitely not relaxing but you'll feel better after treatment. The area being treated will feel hot and will be red due to inflammation of the skin.

Its a Chinese medical therapy that's been used in East Asia to treat a variety of soft tissue problems and muscular pain for thousands of years. It's like a strong form of massage. It's sometimes applied to the body before acupuncture treatment is given as it aids the health benefits of acupuncture therapy.


Gua sha treatment is an ancient physical therapy and is great at moving energy and blood in the area it is given. It strongly increases blood flow to the area thereby relieving chronic pain and tension. Its effects are stronger than that of a deep tissue massage. It's especially effective for neck and shoulder tension.

The effects of gua sha are commonly used to treat these health problems by a medicine practitioner:

  1. Back pain
  2. Neck pain
  3. Headaches
  4. Migraines
  5. Frozen shoulder
  6. Restless leg syndrome
  7. Reducing inflammation
  8. Sciatica
  9. Plantar fasciitis

Side effects

There are no real side effects except that it will leave marks on the surface of the skin that look red or purple depending upon the person. These marks will fade over time usually about a week. Therefore, you shouldn't have this form of treatment every day.

The gua sha technique is so easy to administer that parents often perform the therapy on family members if they need it and are in pain. However, there have been some historical cases of parents being accused of child abuse when western medical doctors cause children that had gua sha treatment. This incorrect judgement was made due to the ignorance of this ancient therapy.

Even though there is little research to confirm the benefits of gua sha therapy, it is still practiced widely in East Asia.