Gua Sha is a very simple and effective traditional healing technique practised widely in China and East Asia.
A round-edged instrument is used to stroke the skin. Enough pressure is applied so that the subcutaneous fascia is reached. Massage oil is applied to the skin's surface to prevent any discomfort from friction.
The effect of gua sha treatment is to reduce blockages and therefore improve circulation. The skin afterwards will be bruised as the stagnant blood and metabolic waste products come to the surface. The petechiae (which is the medical name for this marking) normally fades after 3 days.
After the removal of these blockages, the fluid and blood circulation is vastly improved and any tension or build-up of metabolic by-products in the muscles is reduced.
Gua sha is used in different ways. For example, for the treatment of pain, to treat and prevent respiratory illness and to address digestive problems.
Traditionally, in China, the technique was most commonly used to treat cholera. Today, I find it most beneficial for the treatment of the neck and shoulders. This is because it is one of the areas where many people commonly hold tension which can result in headaches and insomnia. Posture can also be affected, leading to further tension and the creation of a vicious circle. Gua Sha can be very effective in treating neck and shoulders tension and allows the muscles to relax and circulation to improve.