What is Gua Sha?

Gua means to scrape, sha is the redness that follows. It is an ancient therapeutic practice, said to come from the Stone Age in China.


The Guasha tool: the black item in the front.


Sha is the accumulation of blood and heat in the subcutaneous levels of the body. Gua Sha draws the Sha to the skin surface appearing as red spots on the skin (where it is released into the atmosphere.

It is often recommended as the first treatment to give as once the sha is moved, the client usually feels more comfortable and able to move more freely.

The Gua Sha tool is generally a slice of water buffalo horn, made with rounded edge. A lubricant is applied to the skin to facilitate smooth passage over the areas to be treated. The sha markings on the skin generally fade after several days and in some cases after a week.  Due to cosmetic considerations, gua sha would not be done if the client planned to wear certain clothing that would not cover the marks.

Informed consent is always gained before Gua Sha treatment.

Gua Sha is contraindicated in the following instances.

  • People who are weak, fatigued, and those who have just finished exercise
  • During pregnancy
  • Soon after surgery
  • People with heart disease
  • People suffering from any infectious disease
  • Within one hour before or after eating
  • Over cuts, burns, skin irregularities and diseases that may cause bleeding
  • Over warts, moles and tissue irregularities.

After Gua Sha, clients are advised not to have a shower or bath within 1 hour and cold showers should be avoided for 24hours after treatment.

In practice, Gua Sha has been shown to be extremely effective in the treatment of plantar fasciitis when combined with acupuncture. It can also assist in the treatment of:

  • neck pain
  • waist and lower back pain
  • calf cramp
  • ankle pain

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