Gua sha is an ancient technique utilized by TCM practitioners to relieve stagnation in the blood and to promote free flowing circulation. It is believed that when we have stagnation in the body, pain or ailment arises. Gua sha is most commonly used to treat both chronic and acute pain; it is also indicated to relieve ailments such as bronchitis, colds, flu, fever, heatstroke, fibromyalgia, strains, sprains, and muscle spasms.
Gua sha is performed by first applying a lubricant onto the affected area, like massage oil or lotion, and then with a smooth edged instrument the acupuncturist will apply several long or short strokes on the skin. Typically this is done on an area where the patient experiences pain or on the back, parallel to the spine. This stroking motion creates raised redness (petechiae) or bruising (ecchymosis) that will dissipate after 3-5 days.