Gua Sha Tools

Gua Sha Treatment

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha (pronounced "gwa shaw,") is an healing technique originated in Eastern Asia which involves scrapping and rubbing of the skin. Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha is reddish, millet-like skin rash also known as petechiae. When applying Gua Sha a rash appears on the skin. The coloring (reddish, purplish, brownish, or blackish,) of the rash is an indicator of the overall health of the individual's blood flow.

When is Gua Sha used?

Gua Sha is used whenever a patient has pain whether associated with an acute or chronic disorder. There may be aching, tenderness and/or a knotty feeling in the muscles. Palpation reveals Sha when normal finger pressure on a patient's skin causes blanching that is slow to fade. In addition to resolving muscle pain, Gua Sha is used to treat as well as prevent common cold, flu, bronchitis and asthma.

How is Gua Sha applied to?

Oil, Vicks’ Vapor or Tiger balm is being used on the treated area primarily the back, neck, shoulders and sometimes on the buttock or limps. Note when using balms the client can feel a hot or burning sensation due to the rubbing of the skin that increases temperature.

Gua Sha is used with a round-edged tool such as soupspoon, coin, or a slice of a buffalo horn and downward strokes are performed until the petechiae are completely raised to the skins surface. If there is no Blood Stasis the petechiae will not form and the skin will only turn pink.

What to expect after Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is not painfull, however, it can raise slight discomfort and soreness, and even numbness after treatment. The client will often get an immediate break out of the Sha which can be anywhere in color from light red to purple black. The darker colors usually indicate that the problem has been there longer. Usually the Sha will fade in 2-4 days, though it can last up to a week if experiencing bruising.

Many people get immediate relief of some symptoms directly after treatment, though others don't feel relief until they have had several treatments.

Clients who undergo Gua Sha treatment should drink lots of water before and after and should restrict to very minimal activities and avoid cold.

What does the type of Sha indicate?

The color of the Sha is both diagnostic and prognostic.

Very light colored Sha can indicate Deficiency of Blood. If the Sha is fresh red, it is of recent penetration. If the Sha is purple or black, the Blood stasis is long-standing. If brown, the Blood may be dry. Dark red Sha can indicate heat.

Who should not have Gua Sha? (Contraindications

You should check with your doctor before having this treatment performed on yourself. There are some circumstances when it can be unfavorable to your health. Gua Sha should not be performed over the following conditions:

  • Broken skin/wounds or any other type of skin disruption
  • Sunburns
  • Bruises
  • Unexplained lesions on the skin
  • Infection
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Anticoagulant medications
  • Recent fracture
  • Recent surgery
  • Varicose veins
  • Pregnancy
  • Patient very weak or inflamed

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