Gua-Sha, also called ‘coining, spooning, or scraping’, is an ancient healing technique used by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In this procedure, the clinician applies a lubricating medium to the area to be treated and uses a smooth edged instrument to apply short or long strokes to the skin. Often the area to be treated is the site of pain or alongside the spine. The stroking produces raised redness, petechiae, or therapeutic bruising. This effect, called ‘sha’ represents the extravasation of blood in the subcutaneous layer of the skin.
Pain, both acute or chronic, is the most common use for Gua-Sha. In TCM, pain is oftentimes due to the stagnation of blood, and the use of Gua-Sha allows for a breaking up of the stagnation in order to promote blood flow and alleviate pain.
Although pain is a common indication for gua-sha, modern research has shown that it produces an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect and thus an effective adjunct treatment for fever, asthma, bronchitis, colds, flu, nausea, heatstroke, stiffness, fibromyalgia, sprains, muscles spasms, and with acute and chronic internal organ disorders including liver inflammation and disease. Gua-Sha can be applied to almost all Acupuncture indications.