Gua Sha involves scraping the skin with a gua sha tool (usually stone, but may be horn, bone, metal, wood or plastic) to relieve muscle and joint pain and tension, improve circulation and release stagnant energy. It is an ancient Chinese technique that now has a big following in the west. Painful spots in the body are identified through massage/acupressure, touch or acupuncture and gua sha tools are used in short or long strokes over the area. With the stroking stagnant blood and lymph is dissipated, promoting circulation and accelerated healing, releasing stagnant energy, and reducing inflammation (the scaping usually causes petechiae - a bruised area, but this disappears in 2-4 days). Gua sha tools can also be used on the face (though much more gently so that bruising doesn't occur) to reduce puffiness, release tissue blockages and stagnation and release toxins, as well as as a part of lymphatic drainage techniques. Gua sha has been shown to improve movement and reduce pain in computer users. Gua sha stones should be washed with antibacterial soap between uses.
Do not scrape over any mole, pimple, varicose veins, skin disorders, wounds or scratches.
Gua sha is not recommended during pregnancy.
Do not use gua sha on the weak or elderly whose skin may be too frail.
Do not use on people with bleeding disorders, who are taking anti-coagulant medication or who have communicable diseases.
When using on the face only use gentle pressure to avoid bruises or marks.