Gua Sha is a treatment used in Asia by practitioners of traditional medicine. Gua Sha means to rub or friction. Sha is the term used to explain congestion of blood which is evident at the surface of the body. When Gus Sha is used, it is repeatedly applied in a stroking fashion to the body area which produces small red petechiae (Sha). Following the treatment the petechiae will fade and generally leave echymotic patches. The sha will generally disappear completely in several days. It is said that the color and the how quickly the fading occurs is both diagnostic and can be used as a prognostic indicator. The tissues can be palpated manually and the doctor can also feel tissue tone while the treatment is occurring. The tools used have a rounded shape and are frequently made of horn, plastic, jade, shells, jar lids, or similar materials. The purpose of bringing Sha to the surface is to remove stagnation and promote blood circulation.
The benefits of Gua Sha are many including; removing "stagnation," enhancing blood circulation to the muscles, and other soft tissues. This includes the organs where the treatment is used. Patient's generally experience immediate benefits and note decreased stiffness, decreased pain and increased mobility. The effect on the tissues help to stimulate the immune system, and carry away accumulated waste products in the tissue. Gua Sha can also be used for fevers, it can be used to cool overheated patients, and it helps to nourish deficiency.
Gua sha can be applied to painful conditions, stiffness in the tissue, and is excellent for upper respiratory and digestion issues. It is also an excellent technique which can be used for myofascial trigger points and taut muscle bands.