What is skin scraping (gua sha) treatment?

Gua sha forms part of traditional Chinese massage which involves scraping your skin to improve blood circulation. This ancient Chinese healing method is often used to treat chronic pain.

Stagnant energy may be responsible for inflammation associated with chronic pain in the body. Gua sha deals with moving that energy, which is called Chi, in the body. The technique consists of rubbing the surface of the skin so as to break that stagnant energy in order to promote healing of the inflamed areas in the body.

A certified gua sha technician knows how to reduce the risk of pain or intense bruises by not using excessive force during scraping. Bruising usually disappears within a couple of days. The skin is scraped using short and long movements with a smooth-edged tool in order to enhance microcirculation of the soft tissue in order to increase blood flow. The therapist uses massage oil on your skin and continually scrape your skin in a downward motion.

Gua sha is usually performed on the arms, legs, neck, back, and buttocks. A soft version of this technique can be used for facial treatment to relieve stress and tension.

The technique should be avoided on people who have had any surgery during the previous six weeks and people taking blood thinners or having any clotting disorders.