What is Gua Sha？ 刮痧
Gua Sha, also called spooning, is an ancient therapeutic practice that began in China centuries ago for removing stagnation, clearing some heat from an area, and improving the flow of Qi energy and blood to the area. It remains a popular practice in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Southeast Asia. “Gua” means to scrape or rub. “Sha” is a reddish, sandy appearance.
You might ask “How does a spoon make me feel better?” That’s a good question! In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spoons may be employed to ease symptoms. Spoons can also be made of horn or bone, as the instrument is used to scrape the surface of the skin. Medicinal oil or ointment is applied. The spoon may be used on the patient’s back. Following meridians that run parallel down the back muscles, the spoon is scraped downwards until a streak of redness appears. This is caused by capillaries on the skin’s surface, which look like red spotty streaks. By opening up the superficial capillaries of the skin, circulation increases and heat and/or toxins are allowed to escape from within and the patients may feel like their muscles have loosened up.
Although the streaks may look quite marked, the patient usually feels only a bit of friction where the spoon makes contact with the skin. Rarely do they feel discomfort or pain. Sometimes they will feel tired after a gua sha treatment, however by the next day, they usually feel better and have more energy.