“Gua” means scraping. “Sha” are the spots, like bruises, which appear during the scraping, and indicate blocked Qi (life energy). Freely translated, Gua Sha means “scraping disease from the skin”.
Gua Sha improves self-healing power by indirectly stimulating the nervous system, and significantly enhances the removal of toxins. It is the latter effect in particular which makes Gua Sha treatment so powerful effect. When toxins (breakdown products) settle in mucosal tissue and muscles, there is stagnation which leads to pain and other symptoms.
Discoloration of the skin can vary from pink to blue/purple/black, depending on the level of stagnation.
Gua Sha is often combined with cupping, moxa, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.