Scientific research into the therapeutic effects of this treatment shows that Gua Sha has an anti-inflammatory and immune stimulating effect and the benefits last for days after only one treatment. This explains its effect on pain, stiffness, coughs, fever, chill, nausea, among other things. Gua Sha is effective in acute and chronic internal organ disorders including liver inflammation and hepatitis. You can read more scientific literature here.
‘Gua Sha’ roughly translates as ‘to scrape away wind’ in Chinese. Our Traditional Medicine system has long believed that things such as colds get trapped in the exterior of our bodies and it is here that that fight with out immune systems. As such this little know treatment is used to combat fevers and also body aches, inflammation and a variety of other ailments.
TCM also believes pain in the body or muscles is the result of stagnation of qi and blood. Whether you believe in qi or not, we’ve all found relief from rubbing an injury or sore muscle – which is actually promoting an increase in blood flow and qi.
The treatment is carried out using the smooth edge of the Gua Sha. It is used to clear the energy meridians, or ease out tension from the muscles. The practice is carried out by scraping the skin using a ceramic, wooden, bone or stone (often Jade) massage tool. The repeated strokes over oiled skin leave light bruising that will fade away after 2-4 days.
The post-treatment red bruising (known as Sha) should actually decrease after repeated treatments, thus giving a positive sign that something is being cleared out and flow of qi and blood is returning to the area.
Gua Sha combines well with fire cupping and complements the rest of Chinese medicines modalities such as acupuncture and massage very well.