Gua sha: Uses, benefits, and side effects

Gua sha is a technique used in traditional East asian medicate. It is much used to treat muscleman pain and tension, but there has been limited research into how well it works. We find out more about whether gua sha is effective, and if it has any side effects. Gua sha aims to move energy, known as qi or qi, around the body. The discussion involves using a tool to rub the skin in long strokes, applying enough coerce to create minor bruising. Gua sha may help to break down scar tissue and connection tissue, improving movement in the joints. The discussion does not have any serious side effects but is not desirable for those with certain medical conditions.

What is gua sha?

Gua sha share on PinterestGua sha may be used to treat muscle pain and can break down scar tissue. Gua sha is the commit of using a joyride to apply press and scrape the skin to relieve pain and tension. This action causes light bruise, which often appears as purple or loss spots known as petechia or sha. The list gua sha — pronounced gwahshah — comes from the taiwanese word for scraping. It may besides be called skin scratch, spooning, or mint. According to traditional chinese medicate, qi or qi is energy that flows through the body. many people believe that a person ’ second qi must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure their health and wellbeing. People besides believe that qi can become blocked, causing trouble or tension in the muscles and joints. Gua sha aims to move this block energy to relieve aches or awkwardness. traditional East Asian medicine besides views blood stasis or stagnation as a cause of pain and illness. Another aim of gua sha is to move pooled or stagnated lineage to relieve symptoms. Some physiotherapists use a version of the technique known as musical instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization ( IASTM ). Using a tool rather of the hands during a massage allows a physical therapist to apply more pressure.


Gua sha is most frequently used to relieve muscle and joint annoyance. Conditions of the muscles and bones are known as musculoskeletal disorders. Some examples include back pain, tendon puree, and carpal burrow syndrome. Practitioners claim that gua sha can besides benefit the immune system and reduce inflammation. sometimes, gua sha is used to treat a cold, fever, or problems with the lungs. little injuries to the body, such as the bruises caused by gua sha, are sometimes known as microtrauma. These create a answer in the body that may help to break up scar tissue. Microtrauma may besides help with fibrosis, which is a buildup of excessively much conjunction tissue when the body heals. Physiotherapists may use IASTM on connection weave that is not working to move joints as it should. This trouble may be due to a insistent filter wound or another discipline. Gua sha is used alongside early treatments, such as stretching and strengthening exercises.


plowshare on PinterestStudies suggest gua sha may help people who use computers and suffer from neck and shoulder pain. Researchers have carried out little studies on the following groups of people to see if gua sha works :

  • women near menopause
  • people with neck and shoulder pain from computer use
  • male weightlifters, to help with recovery after training
  • older adults with back pain

Women found that perimenopause symptoms, such as sweat, insomnia, and headaches, were reduced after gua sha. A 2014 learn found that gua sha improved the stove of motion and reduce annoyance in people who used computers frequently compared with a restraint group that had no treatment. In a 2017 discipline, weightlifters who had gua sha felt that lifting weights took less attempt after discussion. This could suggest that the treatment speeds up muscle convalescence. Older adults with back pain were treated with either gua sha or a hot pack. Both treatments relieved symptoms evenly well, but the effects of gua sha lasted longer. After a week, those who had received gua sha treatment reported greater flexibility and less back pain than the other group .

Side effects and risks

Gua sha causes bantam blood vessels near the surface of the hide called capillaries to burst. This creates the distinctive crimson or purple bruises, known as sha. The bruises normally take a few days or a week to heal and can be tender while healing. People can take an over-the-counter analgesic, such as ibuprofen, to help with annoyance and reduce swelling. A person should protect the bruise area and take care not to bump it. Applying an ice gang can help to reduce excitement and ease any pain. Gua sha practitioners should not break the skin during the treatment, but there is a risk it could happen. Broken bark increases the possibility of contagion, so a gua sha practitioner should constantly sterilize their tools between treatments. Gua sha is not suitable for everybody. People who should not have gua sha include those :

  • who have medical conditions affecting the skin or veins
  • who bleed easily
  • who take medication to thin their blood
  • who have deep vein thrombosis
  • who have an infection, tumor, or wound that has not healed fully
  • who have an implant, such as a pacemaker or internal defibrillator

Is gua sha painful?

treatment is not supposed to be irritating, but gua sha intentionally causes bruising, which may cause discomfort for some people. These bruises should heal within a few days .

share on PinterestA hand held tool with rounded edges is used in gua sha. traditionally, a spoon or coin would be used to scrape the hide, but in mod drill, therapists use a small, hand-held cock with round off edges. Gua sha tools are frequently weighted to help the practitioner who is doing the operation to apply pressure. Practitioners of traditional East asian medicine see some materials as having an energy that will support healing — these materials include bian stone, jade green, and rose quartz. Medical grade stainless steel steel is frequently used for IASTM or when gua sha is done in a clinic. Practitioners will apply oil to the area of the body that is being treated, which allows the therapist to move the creature across the skin more smoothly. The gua sha practitioner will press the cock into the body with placid, firm strokes in one focus. If gua sha is being carried out on the back, or back of the legs, a person may need to lie face down on a massage table.


Gua sha is used to treat a range of illnesses and disorders, but research has only been carried out on a small count of specific medical conditions. More testify is needed to confirm whether gua sha is an effective treatment. Gua sha is improbable to have any serious english effects, but it can be irritating for some people. A person who plans to have gua sha should make certain that they go to an feel practitioner .

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