Gua Sha is a technique used to release muscle tension, stiffness and congestion through a process of scraping or rubbing with a smooth edged tool. Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha means a red, elevated mark left on the skin.
Oil or liniment is applied to the skin and then it is scraped with repeated strokes using a smooth edged tool until small red or purple spots appear. Similar to the affects of cupping, these spots look much worse than they feel and they disappear within several days.
This process improves blood circulation to help with pain management and also releases toxins for illness such as the common cold. Patients often feel an immediate release of pain, stiffness, cough, wheeze, and inflammation. It is advised to keep the area covered after treatment and to drink plenty of water.