Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation. This ancient Chinese healing technique may offer a unique approach to better health, addressing issues like chronic pain.
In gua sha, the practitioner scrapes your skin with short or long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. They make these strokes with a smooth-edged instrument known as a gua sha tool. The practitioner applies massage oil to your skin, and then uses the tool to repeatedly scrape your skin.
Gua sha is intended to address stagnant energy in the body that practitioners believe may be responsible for inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain.
Gua sha is generally performed on a person’s back, neck, arms, and legs. A gentle version of it is even used on the face as a facial technique. Your practitioner may apply mild pressure, and gradually increase intensity to determine how much force you can handle.
Gua sha may reduce inflammation, so it’s often used to treat ailments that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as those that trigger muscle and joint pain.