Gua Sha

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha Tools

Gua Sha Tools

Gua sha is similar to cupping in its uses. Instead of cups and fire, a instrument is used to scrape the skin with an oil to lubricate the skin. The scraping tool can be an official Gua Sha instrument typically made from a natural horn or the edge of a Japanese ceramic soup spoon. I’ve used the edge of plastic lid! I prefer Po Sum Oil for the lubricant. It is light and has some mint to cool the skin as well as the usual herbs to move blood and increase circulation.

How does Gau Sha Work?

Like cupping Gua Sha breaks up the connective tissue and the muscle just below the skin. This allows the pathogenic factors that are stuck in the muscle level below the skin to be released. The procedure to gua sha the skin is to start at the top of the neck and scrape down to the bottom of the neck in short, smooth even strokes. Then across the shoulders and down the back typically behind the lungs. The skin will turn light red. Where the skin turns a darker red with purple in spots like sand or sha, you have located the area where your defensive qi is fighting the pathogen. Spend more time scraping the area that turns dark red and purple. If you have a big pathogenic invasion, it can look like road rash. This is good! Good triumphs over evil. You are helping the Wei Qi (Defense Qi)to expel the Xie Qi (Evil Qi)!

When would you want to scrape your skin?

Gua Sha on my Dog

Gua Sha on my Dog China Ming

You want to Gua sha you neck and upper back at the first sign of a cold or the flu. You can avert coming down with a cold using this simple self care technique. You can do more to help to expel the pathogens by drinking a cup of fresh ginger tea, wrap in blankets and break a sweat. See Client Resource Handouts on Colds & Flu.

Gua Sha also helps with muscle aches and soreness from overuse and stress. Put Po Sum Oil on the skin and Gua sha that areas that are sore. Athletes have their entire body treated with Gua sha. I would stick to small areas at a time.