Gua Sha (pronounced as Gwa Sha), is an ancient practice of Chinese medicine that predates acupuncture and translates directly to 'scraping.' This therapy was first created by the Chinese to withdraw 'cold winds' from the body, as they believed that when 'cold' or 'cold winds' enter our body, things tighten up and we experience pain. And Gua Sha has the power to pull that cold (or pain) out.
Gua Sha Massage
 

Gua Sha Massage

A popular alternative to Cupping, Gua Sha massage is a body treatment that involves scraping oil lubricated skin by pressing a blunt-edged, flat tool along the muscles of the body, until the built-up knots dissolve. This handheld tool varies in shape and is typically made from horn, yak bone, or crystal. The therapy is intended to release muscle tension, relieve pain and stiffness, and stimulate blood flow. In most cases, it is performed on a person's back, shoulders, and face, however, it can be used to provide relief on any other part of the body as well.

How much does it hurt?

Sounds a little rough, right?

Considered to be more aggressive than Cupping (as it reaches even deeper tissues), this therapeutic massage isn't really as painful as it looks. Medium to heavy pressure is applied while raking the tool across the skin, and the red marks that result from treatment aren't bruises but areas where blood flow previously stagnated.

Also, clients are sent home with strict instructions to practice prescribed stretches, drink lots of water, and take baths to promote healing.

Does it actually work?

The jury is finally out on whether this painful-looking treatment works or not?

And to our surprise, the practice does yield good results. Studies support the therapy's ability to reduce the patient's pain and contribute to smoother skin, in just one session.

In fact, when done properly it can actually feel incredible and deeply relaxing.

Is Gua Sha dangerous?
 

Is Gua Sha dangerous?

It's safe to say that as long you aren't pregnant, and don't have skin rashes, blood coagulation, and platelet issues, the massage is not bad news at all.

Also, don't worry in case of excessive redness. Chances are, you're someone with poor circulation, which is why you are experiencing it. And the marks are certain to disappear within three to seven days.

Should you try it?

If you're someone who has a fairly high tolerance to pain and is looking at alternative methods for long-term pain relief (other than traditional medication), it's definitely worth a try.

Gua Sha Facials

A gentler version of the treatment is also used as a facial technique, where a piece of crystal is used to scrape (or massage) the face. The not-so-scary part: while your body is left with red marks in traditional Gua Sha, the face carries zero marks post-treatment, as it uses delicate movements and therapeutic oils to bring out the skin’s natural glow and make it firmer.

Lastly, a lot of you might be wondering, why Gua Sha is having its big moment in 2018?

Maybe, because it combines all of the current hot beauty trends - from natural remedies to Eastern medicine and the crystal craze.

So, don’t be quick to trust a cursory online search for 'Gua Sha', because there’s so much more to this healing practice than first meets the eye.