What is Gua sha?

Gua sha (pronounced ‘gwa shah’) is a traditional Chinese technique that I use regularly when people have muscle tension and pain, especially in the neck and shoulders, or a number of other conditions including headaches or viruses.

Gua literally translates as ‘scraping’. Gua sha involves repeated pressured strokes over oiled skin with a smooth edge, that results in the appearance of small red petechiae called ‘sha’. The gua sha instrument is usually made of bone, ceramic or jade.

The results look painful but actually this doesn’t hurt at all…. it feels like a strong deep massage and you feel immediate relief from pain, stiffness, fever, etc.., and the red marks or ‘sha’ will fade in 2 to 3 days.

Gua sha is used to move stagnant blood and lymph , promoting better circulation and metabolic processes. It is also used to remove toxins from the body

I find this technique especially effective for people with neck and shoulder pain, often caused by sitting at a computer. This tension can even lead to headaches, or numbness and pain in their arms and hands. Gua sha can often make a quite dramatic impact on somebody’s pain

See this video for a demonstration of the technique: (http://youtu.be/-jbd8CgmLTg) as you can see the person feels no pain even though it looks dramatic

To find out more about whether gua sha could help you, please get in touch and we can chat about your situation


Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol

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