Gua Sha, pronounced “gwa shaw,” is an ancient Chinese healing technique. Comprised of two Chinese characters, Gua means to scrape and Sha means sand. Used by Chinese health practitioners, Gua Sha also is practiced as a home remedy. Not often used in the West because the indication of healing using this method is a rash, Gua Sha is performed to treat systemic toxicity, poor circulation, physical and emotional stress, and migraines. Gua Sha healing promotes the flow of Qi (energy) and blood throughout the body for overall health. Here’s how to perform Gua Sha healing.

Things You'll Need

Determine if the subject has poor blood and Qi circulation. Press the muscles to feel for tension, ropiness or knots. When you release pressure from a stagnant area, there will be blanched areas that are slow to return to correct color. This is a sign of poor circulation.

Apply Gua Sha oil to the affected area. Gua Sha oil is specifically blended with herbs or essential oils that promote the release of toxins that block Qi and healthy blood flow. You also may use massage oil.

Use a soup spoon or a coin as used in Asia. Press down firmly, scraping the tool along the length of the affected muscle or along acupuncture meridians.

Apply rapid 5-inch strokes. Create sufficient friction to raise the Sha, the toxins that flood to the skin’s surface and the actual removal of disease in the body.

Determine the type of toxicity released. Red spots indicate the release of toxins. Very old and stagnant blood raises purple coloration. Dark green signifies stagnant blood and toxic Qi. A green glow that turns red is a symptom of pain or stagnant Qi. Remember that these are negative conditions being released and are signs of healing.

Recognize negative Qi. Dead Qi has been stagnant for a long time and causes oxygen deprivation in the system. This is an extremely harmful form and can lead to cancer cell growth. Stagnant Qi is always associated with pain and indicates sedentary lifestyle, overweight, heart and other organ issues. Toxic Qi means that waste and other toxins have accumulated. Toxic Qi can lead to very serious health problems.

Tell your subject that the discolorations will pass in a few days and that they are signs of healing. Toxins are being released and replaced by healthy, oxygen-rich blood and fluids.


  • Gua Sha is completely safe.