Updated March 21st, 2024 at 16:35 IST

Is Gua Sha Just Another Beauty Fad Or Has Legit Benefits?

Gua Sha, a practise that provides relief to your muscular tensions and breaking down fascia adhesions has its drawbacks too. Know all about it here.

Gua Sha | Image:Unsplash
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Gua sha, a practice of using a tool to apply pressure and scrape the skin to relieve pain and tension, is also known to cause light bruising, which often appears as purple or red spots known as petechiae or sha, therefore, the dilemma around its actual benefits persists. 

The name gua sha, pronounced gwahshah, comes from the Chinese word for scraping. According to traditional Chinese medicine, qi or chi is energy that flows through the body. Many people believe that a person’s qi must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure their health and wellbeing, as per a Medical News Today report. 

People also believe that qi can become blocked, causing pain or tension in the muscles and joints. Gua sha aims to move this blocked energy to relieve aches or stiffness.

Image credit: Unsplash 


Traditional east Asian medicine also views blood stasis or stagnation as a cause of pain and illness, it said. Another aim of gua sha is to move pooled or stagnated blood to relieve symptoms, it added. Some physiotherapists use a version of the technique known as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM), the report claimed. 

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Body benefits

Gua sha is particularly beneficial for those suffering from musculoskeletal disorders, such as back pain, tendon strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome, while its therapeutic effects are not limited to physical ailments, as per a Healthline report.

The practice has also been found to alleviate perimenopause symptoms like sweating, insomnia, and headaches, it said. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated gua sha's potential in improving range of motion, speeding up muscle recovery, and providing longer-lasting relief from back pain compared to traditional methods like hot packs, as per a Medical News Today report.

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Image credit: Unsplash

Side effects

Despite its multiple benefits, gua sha does cause minor capillary bursts near the skin's surface, leading to the characteristic sha bruises, claims a Medical News Today report. These marks typically heal within a week and may be tender during the process. Practitioners recommend protecting the area from further injury and using ice packs to minimize inflammation. 

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Published March 8th, 2024 at 18:56 IST