The name 'gua sha' (pronounced gwahshah) - comes from the Chinese word for 'scraping'. It may also be called skin scraping, spooning, or coining.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, 'qi' or 'chi' is energy that which flows through the body. Many people believe that a person's 'qi' must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure their health and wellbeing. In the same tradition it is believed that 'qi' can get blocked and cause pain or tension in the muscles and joints. Gua sha aims to move this blocked energy to relieve aches or stiffness.
Gua sha is the practice of using a tool to apply pressure and scrape the skin to relieve pain and tension. This action may cause light reddening of the skin, which often appears as purple or red spots. Another aim of gua sha is to move pooled or stagnated blood to relieve symptoms.
Benefits: Gua sha may help to break down scar tissue and connective tissue, improving movement in the joints. It can be used for relieving back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome and practitioners claim that gua sha can also benefit the immune system and reduce inflammation. Sometimes, gua sha is used to treat a cold, fever, or problems with the lungs.