Gua Sha

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Using a ceramic soup spoon (or other similarly shaped tool), Chinese Medicine practitioners lightly scrape the surface of the skin to release trapped energy in the fascia and musles. This is called Gua Sha.

The “Sha” is the trapped energy (you could think of it as tension or resistance) that gets released. Whenever there is sha present in the body, when the spoon pulls it out through the skin, and a red mark appears that lasts for 24-48 hours. The red mark comes from blood rushing to the surface and is called pitachae.

The following conditions will often be relieved with Gua Sha:

  • The common cold or flu, especially on the first day of symptoms
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Recent injuries that have healed (all broken skin has healed)
  • Certain types of long-term chronic pain
  • Certain kinds of tension headaches
  • Some types of psycho-somatic pain (pain that seems influenced by emotional states)
  • Certain kinds of rashes, such as poison ivy and even shingles (gua sha is done around the area of the rash, not on the rash itself)

I use gua sha frequently in Energetic Acupressure sessions.

You can also learn to do Gua Sha on yourself! We’ve developed a do-it-yourself book and an on-line class for massage therapists and healers. Please visit for more information. We also have a number of interesting posts on the topic of Gua Sha at


 guashaspoon2 for web