Gua Sha is an Eastern Medicine treatment that has been used throughout Asia for centuries. Gua means to rub or press-stroke. Sha is a term that describes the blood congestion in surface tissue in areas where the patient may experience stiffness and pain. Sha is also the term for the small red dots (petechiae) that are raised from applying Gua Sha. When Gua press stroking is applied in repeated even strokes, Sha appears and the pain immediately shifts. In minutes the small red dots fade into a red flush. The Sha disappears totally in two to three days after treatment. The color of Sha and rate of fading can indicate important information about a patient’s condition. Pain relief lasts even after the Sha is completely gone.
Benefits of Gua Sha
The benefits of Gua Sha are numerous. It resolves spasms and pain, and promotes normal circulation to the muscles, tissues and organs, as seen in Gua Sha’s immediate effect on coughing and wheezing. Research has shown that Gua Sha causes a four-fold increase in microcirculation of surface tissue (Nielsen et al. 2007) and can reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system (Braun et al. 2011; Chan et al. 2011). Gua Sha upregulates heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1), that acts to reduce internal organ inflammation, for example, in cases of asthma, hepatitis and liver disease.
- Immediate changes in stiffness and pain with increased mobility.
- Moves stuck blood, promoting circulation of muscles, tissues, & organs.
- Promotes immediate changes in stiffness, pain and mobility.
- Helps your body regulate temperature, while relaxing tension and reducing anxiety.
- Mimics sweating, helping to resolve fever.
Acupuncturists consider Gua Sha for any illness or condition where there is pain or discomfort, for upper respiratory and digestive problems, and any condition where palpation indicates there is Sha.
Post Treatment Care
After treatment, please keep the area protected from wind, cold and direct sun until the Sha fades. Patients are also encouraged to rest, drink plenty of water and eat moderately.