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  • Writer's pictureBobby Eng

Modality Spotlight: Gua Sha

Gua Sha is a traditional therapy used mainly for pain, inflammation, and immune support. It uses a blunt object (traditionally bone, jade, or bian stone, but more modernly stainless steel or titanium) in a scraping motion in certain body areas. There are a variety of techniques, and although the treatment can be intense, it is not painful. It is highly beneficial to reducing congestion (both superficially and at deeper levels), releasing toxins, and clearing heat. It can be used in a variety of pathologies including fever, headache, sunstroke, food poisoning, asthma, liver disease, and issues with stiffness/pain. Gua Sha causes a 4-fold increase in the microcirculation of surface tissues and can therefore also reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system (it is common for the treatment of common colds in many Eastern cultures). It also up regulates heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) which acts on organ inflammation and is the reason it is indicated with internal medicine disorders as well.


· Chen, T., Liu, N., Liu, J., Zhang, X., Huang, Z., Zang, Y., … Ding, Z. (2016). Gua Sha, a press-stroke treatment of the skin, boosts the immune response to intradermal vaccination. PeerJ, 4, e2451. doi:10.7717/peerj.2451

· Lee, M. S., Choi, T. Y., Kim, J. I., & Choi, S. M. (2010). Using Guasha to treat musculoskeletal pain: a systematic review of controlled clinical trials. Chinese medicine, 5, 5. doi:10.1186/1749-8546-5-5

· Xu, Q. Y., Yang, J. S., Zhu, B., Yang, L., Wang, Y. Y., & Gao, X. Y. (2012). The effects of scraping therapy on local temperature and blood perfusion volume in healthy subjects. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2012, 490292. doi:10.1155/2012/490292

· Nielssen, A., Knoblauch, NT., Dobos, GJ., Michalsen A., & Kaptchuk, TJ. (2007). The effect of Gua Sha treatment on the microcirculation of surface tissue: a pilot study in healthy subjects. Explore (NY). Sep-Oct; 3(5): 456-66


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