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What is a Gua Sha Treatment and Why You Should Try It

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Gua sha treatment is a traditional East Asian healing technique that’s similar to cupping and acupressure. A practitioner lubricates your back then pressure-strokes it with a small, rounded tool. Gua sha is sometimes referred to as spooning because it can be done with the edge of a metal spoon You can also use a metal bottle cap, a coin or a tool made from horn or jade. The most striking aspect of this technique is the bruise-like streaking it leaves.

So why would you want to undergo a treatment that leaves you looking as though you’ve been beaten? Devotees say the scraping is intense but doesn’t hurt. More importantly, Gua sha benefits far outweigh the temporary redness and they feel absolutely phenomenal afterward. It may make you feel better to know that the marks aren’t actually bruises but blood released from deep-tissue blood vessels and generally disappear in 2-4 days.

Gua Sha helps with pain

gua sha tool
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And there are plenty of benefits. According to Arya Nielsen, Ph.D., one of the leading Western authorities on Gua sha treatment, “Modern research has confirmed Gua sha reduces pain, inflammation while stimulating an immune protective response that can persist for days following treatment. Gua sha is a valuable treatment for musculoskeletal problems as well as internal organ conditions including respiratory and hepatic inflammation.”

This is one therapy that should not be performed by amateurs — you should think of it as a medical procedure. It’s not appropriate for everyone, or every condition, and certified practitioners know exactly where to apply pressure for different issues as well as exactly when to stop. Without a licensed professional, you could wind up with actual bruises or tissue damage. Also by bringing blood up to the surface, you risk passing on blood-born infections so proper hygiene and safety precautions are essential.

Do not abuse

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It is also recommended that you take it easy for the rest of the day after having a Gua sha treatment. If you’re suffering from shoulder pain, neck pain, tension or you just want to boost your immune system, Gua sha may be just what the doctor ordered. At worst you’ll have a seriously deep massage and an excuse to kick back for the day; at best, you’ll come out feeling like a brand new person!

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