Gua Sha, pronounced “Gwa Sha”, is an ancient healing technique that we
use in the clinic at Vineyard Complementary Medicine for a variety of
ailments mostly neck pain and tightness but can be used to treat and
muscle injury for pain or to improve mobility. Gua Sha has been used
throughout Asia with amazing results for thousands of years. Historically,
Gua Sha was used in ancient Chinese villages in pre acupuncture times (
more than 2000 years ago) as a means of self-care or a way to care for
each). It can be used for any pain or discomfort, and may also be used for
upper respiratory or digestive problems, to create a smooth flow of Qi (
your body’s vital energy) along an acupuncture meridian, to help clear
toxins from the body or to stimulate the acupuncture points along any
Gua means “to rub”. Sha is the term to describe the discoloration of the
skin once it has been rubbed or scraped during a session. In the Western
Medical world different people have created there own name for this
ancient technique including the Graston and IASTYM Techniques.
Gua Sha breaks up the stagnation or muscle tightness and dysfunction that
causes you to feel pain and stiffness. When there is an injury to tissue
congested blood, metabolic waste and toxins that lie deep within the
tissues are released and promotes normal circulation to the muscles,
tissues and organs directly beneath the area being treated. Gwa Sha helps
to release toxins that have built up over time as a result of past injuries,
poor diet, chemical and environmental exposure and emotional traumas.
The technique of gliding or scraping the tool along the skin in repeated,
even strokes, working to loosen tight muscles where other massage
techniques, or even myofacial release, does not.
When there are a lot of congested toxins or a stagnation of energy in an
area, small red petechiae ( dots) usually appear, this is the sha, and in
minutes you see it as a smeared rashy bruise. It will show the most where
you feel the most pain, tightness, tenderness or stiffness
The bruising will stay for 1 or 2 days and for 24 hours after treatment the
area must be protected from any cold or wind to prevent symptom flare up.