How does Gua sha therapy work?

Gua sha therapy

Gua sha therapy as practiced in by the practiionwrs at Sydney Acupuncture clinic is a technique from traditional Chinese medicine which is believed to aid healing and stimulate blood flow. According to practitioners, Gua sha can be used to remove unhealthy elements from the body, especially targeting injured areas.

Gua sha therapy has been indicated and promoted for any condition which presented with blood stasis internal or external resulting in pain. Whilst investiaging the Chinese medical litriture an array of conditions can respond  to gua sha therpy which include  headaches, igraine, neck, shoulder, back, and knee pain, as well as acute diseases such as fever, flu, asthma and bronchitis in children and adults. Gua sha is also effective in chronic disease including hepatitis.

How old is Gua sha?

The earliest reported use of Gua sha as a medical treatment in China dates back around 2,000 years. The literal meaning of Gua sha therapy  is “scrape rash”. The term appears to originate from an ancient text of Chinese medicine, Shang Han Lun, which is believed to be as old as 220 CE.

The Gua sha technique was soon transferred to south eastern countries like Vietnam where it became popular almost instantly. Multiple variations of Gua sha exist in Asia . Some variants of this ancient Chinese medical technique use different tools from a coin through to spoons, cow horns. Using oil or balm as lubrication, pressure is applied to the affected area using a implement.



As the translation suggests, Gua sha involves scraping the body. Commonly, a lubricant is applied to the area which is to be treated using Gua sha therapy , after which, pressure is applied in strokes using an edged instrument. Even though the most common scraping instruments are metal caps, the instrument can be anything from a ceramic Chinese soup spoon to coins- and even animal bones!

The instrument is pressed down firmly on skin and then moved/ stroked down along muscles or along acupuncture meridians. The strokes for Gua sha are typically four to six inches long. These strokes, however, may result in small capillary rupture, these are not causing internal bleeding or bruising as opposed to what people believe. Since the strokes do not because what can qualify as bruises, the marks also disappear in a considerably short amount of time.


Other names for Gua Sha therapy 

Graston Technique (GT) is a “trademarked” therapeutic manual method for diagnosing and treating disorders of the muscles, skeletal and related con

gau Sha , GUASHA

Gua Sha therapy by Rodd Sanchez

nective tissue condition s. The Graston Technique was initialised by David Graston which uses a collection of stainless steel instruments of particular shape which practitioners to rub / scape over muscles in order to sense and resolve adhesions in tendons and muscles.  Practitioners must be licensed in order to use the Graston Technique name, but results are very similar to tradition GuA Sha


Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a popular treatment for myofascial restriction. IASTM uses specially designed instruments to provide a mobilizing effect to scar tissue and myofascial adhesions.



How is cupping different from Gua sha?

Even though both techniques are essentially used to remove toxins from the body and stimulate blood flow, there are a few differences in the way in which these techniques are performed. Cupping makes use of heat or suction to create a vacuum within a cup which is placed on lubricated skin. The purpose of this suction or heat is to open any blocked passages of nutrients within the body.

Contgade gua sha rary to what most people believe, both cupping and Gua sha are completely painless as long as the technique is performed by a skilled professional. If you live in Sydney or Sylvania and would like to be treated using Gua sha or cupping, contact Rodd Sanchez.

Sydney Gua Sha Therapy & Sylvania Gua Sha  Therapy







The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine