Gua sha is literally translated as “scraping sand" because of the red marks that form after treatment, and involves taking a spoon or a specific gua sha instrument and repeatedly rubbing or scraping the tool on the skin over the affected area in order to increase blood circulation in the fascial and muscle layers of the body.
Whenever we are injured, blood flow may be decreased, which can trap lactic and uric acid underneath the skin. The purpose of gua sha is to break up this crystalline waste. Signs of these metabolic waste products being released into the tissue become evident in the form of “sha”, or tiny red spots that occur after treatment. This sha is a positive sign after a treatment since it indicates that changes are happening in the underlying muscle tissue and fascia.
It is often used whenever there are aches, pain, or soreness in the back, neck, shoulders, or torso from tight, stiff, or overworked muscles. Many people ask for a gua sha treatment in order to help "detox" or flush their body. Some clients have also requested to receive the treatment to relieve colds.
Similar to cupping and massage, before a gua sha treatment, your practitioner will palpate the area of your body that hurts in order to find areas that feel tight. Then, he or she will rub them with a gua sha tool until the skin in that area begins to turn red.