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  • Gathered Roots

What Is Gua Sha?

Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping the skin with a massage tool to improve circulation. The treatment is traditionally used in East Asian and Chinese medicine. Some people may know it as gua sha massage, it may also be called skin scraping, spooning, or coining which treats muscle pain and tight muscles by applying pressure with the gua sha tool. Gua sha treatment doesn’t exactly look pretty at first, as it causes redness and bruising of the skin, however, the results are dramatic, and some have called it the best massage of their life.


According to traditional Chinese medicine, qi is an energy that flows through the body. TCM practitioners believe that qi must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure the person’s health and wellbeing. They also believe that qi can become blocked, causing pain or tension in the muscles and joints. Gua sha aims to move this blocked energy to relieve aches or stiffness and joint pain. Some examples include back pain, tendon strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Traditional East Asian medicine also views blood stasis or stagnation as a cause of pain and illness. Another aim of gua sha is to move pooled or stagnated blood to relieve symptoms.

TCM practitioners claim that gua sha can also benefit the immune system and reduce inflammation. Sometimes, gua sha is used to treat a cold, fever, or problems with the lungs.

Small injuries to the body, such as the bruises caused by gua sha, are sometimes known as microtrauma. These create a response in the body that may help to break down scar tissue and improve movement in the joints. Microtrauma may also help prevent fibrosis, which is an excessive buildup of connective tissue when the body heals.

Side Effects

Gua sha typically has minimal side effects including temporary bruising or discoloration of the skin. There may also be some soreness or tenderness in the areas treated. These should all dissipate within a short period. Gua sha is not an appropriate treatment for those with certain medical conditions like people who are taking blood thinners or have clotting disorders.

Facial Gua Sha

Facial gua sha is a more gentle technique that will increase circulation and lymphatic flow in the face to treat the signs of premature ageing, wrinkles, dark eye circles and puffiness, and sagging and dull-looking skin. it will not leave bruise-like marks as it is done with a much lighter hand. If you have ever felt tension on your face, around your jaw or between your brows, gua sha might be a good choice for you.

At Gathered Roots, we provide Gua sha as a combination therapy with acupuncture treatment during community or private hours, and it is also a part of our facial cosmetic therapy.

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