Gua Sha. Can you pronounce it? This form of Chinese medicine is great for circulation support, but what is it?

You’ve heard of acupuncture, acupressure, and likely Chinese herbal medicine, but there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of acupuncture’s great cousin, gua sha! Although gua sha is a lesser-known method in Chinese medicine, it is a powerful modality that everyone should experience!

Our Manhattan acupuncture clinic, Li Qian Acupuncture, has gua sha. And even though you may not know what this is now, you’ll want to schedule an appointment by the time you’re done reading! So, join us today as we explore the amazing Chinese modality of gua sha.   

What Is Gua Sha?

Gua sha is skin scraping technique by a specific tool that stimulates circulation and blood flow. Sounds pretty brutal right? Gua sha is an intense skin scraping technique, but it offers a unique approach that supports your health and better addresses health concerns such as chronic pain.

How is gua sha performed?

There is a tool your acupuncturist will use that incorporates long strokes to get everything moving to promote increased circulation to soft tissues and muscles — it’s like foam rolling but on a micro level! But don’t worry, before any gua sha begins, practitioners will apply massage oil to the area and proceed to scrape your skin in a downward motion. 

The gua sha pressure a practitioner uses is all in what you can handle and you can gradually increase the pressure for deeper, more beneficial support.   

Not only will gua sha help sore muscles and improve blood flow and circulation, but it unblocks stagnant energy that may be causing inflammation — the friction supports healing. 

Where is gua sha performed?

Gua sha can be applied anywhere on the skin’s surface where there is pain, but it’s most commonly performed on the arms, legs, shoulders, neck, back, and buttocks. It also made its way into the mainstream media as practitioners are using it as an anti-aging method on the face.  

What does gua sha support?

We know that gua sha supports circulation, but it addresses a broad array of health conditions including:

  • Headaches
  • Breast engorgement (breastfeeding women)
  • Neck Pain
  • Painful periods

What To Expect From Gua Sha

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing method and has been used as a part of Chinese medicine and by acupuncturists for centuries, and has a place in modern medicine — it’s a safe and effective modality for promoting wellness and addressing circulation and inflammation concerns. 

Gua sha should not be painful, but it may affect the appearance of your skin. Because the tool produces friction, your skin may become red and tiny blood vessels may burst, resulting in bruising or minor bleeding. 

If you’re looking for an alternative treatment to western medicine that improves circulation and improves soft tissue and muscle recovery, gua sha is an excellent option. 

It is also important to find an acupuncturist who is trained in gua sha and knows the proper technique for a safe and effective treatment. 

To learn more about gua sha at our Manhattan acupuncture clinic, connect with us today!