Gua sha is an important healing technique of traditional East Asian
medicine, sometimes called “coining, spooning or scraping.” The purpose of Gua
sha is to stroke over a lubricated part of the body and bring up sha, or
petechiae, which appear as little red dots that represent the extravasation of
blood to the subcutis. Gua sha is not painful; in fact, pain is usually
immediately improved after Gua sha.
Gua sha resolves pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms, and promotes
circulation to the muscles tissues and organs. Research has shown that Gua sha
causes an increase in circulation to surface tissue and reduces inflammation
while stimulating an immune-protective response. Gua sha upregulates
heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1), which acts to reduce internal organ inflammation, and
because of this Gua sha is being used in cases of asthma and liver disease.
If you’ve ever wondered what Gua sha looks like, here is a video demonstrating Gua sha on the neck of a woman with a neck and upper back injury.