gua shaGua Sha is a skin scraping therapy to loosen the pores in order to get rid of pathogens and to stimulate the internal tissue and organs to improve immune system and promote self-healing. On the surface of the body, there are twelve cutaneous regions. They overlay the broad network of superficial channels and link them. Invasion by exogenous pathogenic factors through the skin can penetrate the deeper layers of the channels system. It is an acupuncture method without penetration of the skin, a bloodletting therapy without bleeding, and a massage without direct hand contact.

Gua means “scraping” in Chinese, and Sha refers to papules, the small, solid elevations of the skin. The area to be treated is first lubricated with oil, and then scraped with scrapers until the papules become fully visible and coalesce. Lubricators include water, alcohol, flower oils and vegetable oils. The scrapers are natural materials with smooth edges, such as chinaware, silver table spoons, bamboo plates, buffalo horns, and jade. After scraping, there could be redness or slight bleeding under the skin.

This treatment method could be used for many common diseases, such as common cold, fever, heat-stroke, acute enterogastritis, and musculoskeletal pain.