Gua sha (which means “to rub/press redness”) is an additional technique often used alongside acupuncture.
It is used to resolve muscle spasms, pain, improve circulation, support the immune system, and increases blood flow to the area. Often immediate changes can be felt by the patient.
A gua sha tool is used to give firm, even stroking to bring about a release of small pin-prick changes in the skin (petichiae). At first these can look quite startling, and indeed the amount and colour of the “sha” produced can be used to provide valuable information about the patient’s condition.
The skin colour change that is brought about in response to the treatment usually disappears after 3 days.
Gua sha is thought to mimic sweating, and can help to reduce fever.
After treatment, the patient is advised to eat moderately, stay hydrated, and keep the area protected from wind, cold, and direct sunlight until the sha fades.