East Asian Medicine is most commonly associated with acupuncture in the US, although it is only one of the many modalities used to treat conditions; others include herbal medicine, tui na, moxibustion, qi gong/tai qi, nutritional counseling, and cupping (baguan). In the West, gua sha may be one of the lesser known and more misunderstood modalities of East Asian Medicine, however can be a very beneficial therapy.
Gua Sha is a healing technique sometimes called scraping, coining or spooning. An instrument (often a spoon, cap, or instrument specifically designed for gua sha) is stroked unidirectionally on the skin, with the use of a lubricant (often oil). Similarly to cupping, gua sha leaves subcutaneous blemishing, which is often mistaken for bruising. However, these marks are not bruises, as the capillaries are not ruptured, and the marks fade much more quickly, often without the tenderness associated with a bruise. The marks can last for several days, but usually fade away more quickly. Gua sha is indicated for internal blood stasis and pain, often a diagnosis associated with trauma,