Does Gua Sha Work, Or Is It All Hype?

Skincare Anarchy
4 min readNov 28, 2022

Several of us would like to keep our visage looking fresh. Sadly, as we get older, our skin begins to lose its suppleness and elasticity, which leads to fine lines, an inconsistent tone, and puffiness. What can we do then? In order to slow down or even stop the natural effects of aging, we frequently use pricey technologies or procedures — often in extremely unnatural and perhaps dangerous ways.

However, gua sha, a massage method with a long history of use in Traditional Chinese medicine, is a good choice to explore if you’re searching for a natural and economical solution to keep your skin vibrant and shining.

When applied to the body or face, gua sha relieves muscle tension and improves blood circulation. Additionally, it improves the transport of nutrients and fresh oxygen to the body’s numerous tissues, which results in healthier-looking skin. Gua sha is making a resurgence and is here to stay due to its well-documented benefits for general health and energy. It is based on traditional Chinese therapeutic techniques.

Gua sha, which means “scrape sand” in Chinese, was formerly carried out by medical professionals who utilized implements made of a range of materials (such as ivory, bone, porcelain, metal, etc.) to ferociously scrape the patient’s skin till it turned red. Patients would experience petechiae, which are elevated red or purple areas in the subcutaneous tissues that suggested internal blood stagnation or deficient problems. A traditional gua sha treatment claimed to relieve blood stasis to encourage better blood flow and circulation by purposefully causing petechiae to emerge.

According to reports, gua sha can provide relief for a number of medical ailments. Gua sha, according to Sobo, who is a licensed acupuncturist, is beneficial for musculoskeletal issues, particularly serious problems like tightness in the shoulders, legs, and back. Additionally, it can lessen neck discomfort, a stiff neck, tension headaches, migraines, and body aches. Gua sha, when used in conjunction with acupuncture, can even aid with symptoms of anxiety, exhaustion, sleeplessness, and perimenopause.

So, what are the benefits of gua sha?

The viral infection known as hepatitis B, damages, scars, and inflames the liver. According to research, gua sha may lessen persistent liver inflammation.

A study monitored a patient who had elevated liver enzymes, a sign of inflammatory liver disease. After receiving gua sha for 48 hours, he saw a decrease in his liver enzyme levels. This suggests to researchers that gua sha has the capacity to reduce liver inflammation, hence lowering the risk of liver damage. More studies are still being conducted.

Gua sha may be helpful if over-the-counter drugs are ineffective for treating your chronic migraines. A 72-year-old woman who suffered from severe headaches was given gua sha over the course of 14 days in one of the studies that had taken part. Her migraines lessened throughout this period, indicating that this traditional healing method would work well to treat headaches.

Many breastfeeding mothers deal with the problem of breast engorgement. The breasts overproduce milk at this time. When the mother is away from the baby for whatever reason, or during the first few weeks of breastfeeding, it typically happens. It becomes uncomfortable and bloated, which makes it challenging for infants to latch.

In one study, women received gua sha from the second day following childbirth until they were discharged from the hospital. Following up with these women in the weeks following delivery, the hospital discovered that many of them had reported less engorgement, breast fullness, and discomfort. They were able to breastfeed more easily as a result.

The gua sha procedure may also be successful in treating persistent neck pain. 48 participants that took part in the study were divided into two groups in order to evaluate the efficacy of this therapy. To address neck pain, one group received gua sha while the other used a thermal heating pad. Individuals who received gua sha after one week expressed less discomfort than those in the control group.

Inadvertent movements caused by Tourette syndrome include vocal screams, throat clearing, and facial twitches. According to one case, the participant’s Tourette syndrome symptoms may have been lessened by gua sha when used in conjunction with other treatments.

A 33-year-old man who has had Tourette syndrome since he was 9 years old participated in the study. He changed his lifestyle and received gua sha, herbs, and acupuncture. After 35 once-weekly sessions, his symptoms were 70% better. Although this man’s results were encouraging, more study is still required.

As women get closer to menopause, perimenopause happens. These signs include irregular periods and sleeplessness, weariness, anxiety, and hot flashes.

However, gua sha may help some women with their perimenopause symptoms. Eighty perimenopausal women were the subject of the investigation. For eight weeks, the intervention group received weekly 15-minute gua sha sessions in addition to traditional therapy. Only conventional therapy was provided to the control group.

In comparison to the control group, the intervention group reported fewer symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety, exhaustion, and insomnia at the end of the trial. Gua sha therapy may be a secure and successful treatment for this syndrome, according to researchers.


Written By: Yaren Ay

Concept: Dr. Ekta Y. MD MBA MS


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