Gua Sha 刮痧

Gua means to scrape or shave. Sha means sand, or husky (voice).

Gua sha is the technique of scraping to bring a sandy, grainy looking, elevated, rough rash, or sha to the skin surface.

-to dispel exogenous wind, cold, heat, or damp penetration
-to remove obstructions to the free flow of qi and blood in the channels and collaterals
-to release the exterior

-bi syndrome, including such things as;
-degenerative joint disease
-rheumatoid arthritis
-ankylosing spondylitis
-post menopausal osteoporosis
-low back pain
-neck pain
-other joint pain
-wei syndrome, including such things as;
-myasthenia gravis
-motor-neurone disease
-multiple sclerosis
-muscular dystrophy
-acute or chronic soft tissue injury, including such things as;
-acute low back pain
-repetitive stress injury
-acute sprains and strain

Reminders to patients
-gua sha will bring a rough rash like discoloration to the are treated
-the sha often appears most concentrated at the site of the pain
-most of the sha will fade over 2-3 days
-if it takes less time it indicates good circulation, longer it may indicate poor circulation
-if it is dark it may indicate blood stasis
-the sha may feel tender with a local feeling of warmth.
-patients should keep this area covered and not expose it to direct sunlight or wind
-patients often notice an immediate improvement in range of motion and a decrease in pain
-they should be encouraged not to immediately resume normal activities, but continue to rest the are
-patients should record how they feel for the next few days, recording the return of pain, or loss of range of motion, any other changes, improvements etc.
-where gua sha (tui na, cupping, poultices and compresses, etc.) is used to release the exterior, relieve pain and increase range of motion, etc. it is generally recommended that patients avoid cold foods and drinks as they can harden and cause stagnation and may aggravate the pain
-patients should also avoid sour tasting food as it may astringe and contract potentially aggravating the pain

Gua sha can be used well for the following conditions
It is often used in conjunction with acupuncture points selected according to pattern differentiation.

Symptoms or Patterns                                             Areas to Gua sha

Headaches, all types, sinusitis pain, neck               Upper back, shoulders, neck pain, thyroid conditions including goiter

Sinusitis, cough, asthma, bronchitis,                        Upper back, shoulders, neck and chest

Forearm injury or strain                                                  Neck, shoulder, upper back, arm on effected channel
Carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist problems

Abdominal or epigastric pain                                          Upper and mid-back especially any areas of referred pain
Hiatal hernia
Hepatomegaly or splenomegaly

Abdominal bloating and distention                                Mid and low back

Any phlegm disorder                                                            Whole back

Deficient blood (anemia)                                                     Whole back, gently

Deficient spleen yang and central qi sinking                 Whole back with an emphasis on mid to low back
Chronic loose stools, Crohn’s, colitis, irritable
bowel syndrome, etc.

Back pain                                                                                   Whole back with an emphasis on the painful area

Bladder pain, prostatitis, urinary retention                      Mid and low back, sacrum and sacroiliac joints
or urinary tract infection, genital pain, herpes
lesions, impotence, vaginitis, leukorrhea,
lubrication (excess or deficient), hemorrhoids,
uterine and ovarian disorders, menstrual pain or irregularities

Sciatica, sprains and strains of the leg,                               Mid and low back, sacrum and sacroiliac joints, painful areas on
joint problems of the leg, tired legs,                                      or around the joints
uneven leg lengths