Gua sha is a therapeutic technique used by acupuncturists in the practice of Chinese Medicine. A round-edged instrument like a porcelain Chinese soup spoon or smooth, flat piece of jade is used to make scraping strokes across the skin using pressure until there is the appearance of small red marks or a general flushing of the skin indicating that there is blood flow to the area.
This therapy is often applied to the body in areas where the muscles are very tight and painful or for tissues that naturally don’t have a good blood supply, such as tendons. Because gua sha promotes normal circulation and improves metabolic processes, patients often experience immediate relief from pain.
The redness in the skin which occurs from this treatment generally fades quickly and is not harmful in any way. Gua sha is also used for respiratory infections and for facial rejuvenation (using very light pressure).