Gua sha

Gua sha is a folk treatment method for some diseases. Guided by the theory of meridians and acupoints of traditional Chinese medicine, special Gua sha instruments and corresponding manipulations are used to dip a certain medium, and repeated Gua sha and rubbing are carried out on the body surface to make red miliaria, dark red bleeding spots or other “rash marks” appear locally on the skin, thus promoting blood circulation and eliminating Gua sha. Due to the simple, convenient, inexpensive and effective characteristics, Gua sha is widely used clinically and is suitable for medical treatment and family health care. In addition, scrapping can be used in combination with acupuncture, cupping, pricking collaterals and bloodletting to promote blood circulation, remove blood stasis, expel pathogenic factors and toxic substances.


Basic information

Chinese name: Guasha

Foreign name: Scrapping

Visiting department: Chinese medicine department

Indications: Painful diseases, bone and joint degenerative diseases


Common instrument

Common Gua sha instruments include Gua sha plates and Gua sha oil.


  1. Gua sha plate


(1) Horns

①Characteristics and effects: Clinically, there are many buffalo horn Gua sha plates. Buffalo horn tastes pungent, salty and cold. Pungency can disperse qi, promote blood circulation and reduce swelling. Salt can act as a softening drug and can moisten intestines and relieve constipation. Cold can clear away heat and toxic material, cool blood and arrest convulsion. Buffalo horn is tough, smooth and durable, rich in raw materials and easy to process;

②Note: Do not soak in hot water for a long time, bake by fire or by electricity. Wipe the Gua sha plate immediately after Gua sha, and then coat it with olive oil, and store it in the scraper sleeve.


(2) Jade

① Characteristics and effects: Jade has the effects of moistening skin, promoting granulation, clearing away heat and toxic materials, tranquilizing mind, dispelling pathogenic factors and dispersing turbid pathogen. Its texture is warm, smooth and easy to hold. Because of its comfortable touch, it is suitable for facial Gua sha.

②Note: Please clean it after use. Avoid being collided and avoid contact with chemical reagents.


(3) Stone needle

① Characteristics and effects: Stone needle is made of Sibin pumice, which contains a variety of trace elements and has extremely wide infrared radiation frequency band. It can dredge channels and collaterals, clear away heat and expel toxin, treat turbid phlegm, blood stasis and other accumulated visible diseases like hard-nut softening drugs, and make the local skin of human body warm. The edge thickness of the stone Gua sha plate used for Gua sha is less than 3 mm;

② Note: As stone needle may contain harmful substances, the authenticity should be carefully identified when purchasing. Please be sure to buy stone needle that is tested by the national authoritative department and does not contain harmful substances.


Gua sha instruments are made of different materials. Many daily appliances can be used as Gua sha instruments, such as copper coins, silver dollars, porcelain spoons, tender bamboo plates, cotton yarn, clam shells, etc. Now there are Gua sha instruments made of modern materials such as resin and silica gel.


  1. Gua sha oil

(1) Liquids

① Characteristics and effects: Liquids mainly include cold boiled water, vegetable oil (such as sesame oil, tea seed oil, rapeseed oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, olive oil), medicinal oil (such as safflower oil, traumatic injury oil, rheumatism oil) and others,  which not only can prevent Gua sha plate from scratching skin, but also can moisten skin, open and discharge pores, promote blood and qi circulation. In addition, Chinese herbal medicines with effects of clearing away heat and toxic materials, promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, dredging collaterals and relieving pain can also be selected, decocted into liquid medicine, and then selected according to the disease condition;

② Note: Gua sha oil should be used and stored away from fire. It is forbidden for patients with skin allergy, and it is prohibited locally for people with trauma, ulcer, scar and malignant tumor.


(2) Creams

① Characteristics and effects: Select pasty substances with fine texture, such as Vaseline, skin cream, snake oil, fortalin cream, etc. Moreover, traditional Chinese medicines with the effects of promoting blood circulation, removing blood stasis, dredging collaterals, relieving pain, and resuscitation with aromatics can be extracted, and then prepared into cream for use.

② Note: Store in a cool and dry place away from sun. Appropriate Gua sha media should be selected according to the disease condition, such as Futalin cream with analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, which can better treat rheumatic joint diseases.


Clinical application

  1. Operation points

(1) Fully expose the Gua sha part and evenly coat the skin with Gua sha oil and other media;

(2) Hold the Gua sha plate in hand, and scrape the part slowly and gently first. After the patient adapts, scrape and wipe it more vigorously and faster to the extent that the patient can tolerate it. It is advisable to scrape along channels and collaterals in one direction. If pain points or acupuncture points are scraped, focus on Gua sha until rash marks appear.

(3) Wipe the Governor Vessel on the back and the route of the sun’s bladder through the Beishu point to stimulate the body’s yang energies, adjust the viscera function and enhance the disease resistance, and then wipe the local Ashi points or meridian points according to the disease condition, so as to achieve better curative effect.

(4) After Gua sha, the patient must be told to drink warm boiled water to expel pathogenic factors and toxic substances.


  1. Application

Scrapping has the effects of regulating qi and blood, promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, relaxing muscles and tendons, dredging collaterals, expelling pathogenic factors and toxic substances, and has been widely applied to various diseases related to internal medicine, surgery, gynecology and pediatrics, as well as beauty care and health care, and is especially suitable for the rehabilitation of painful diseases, bone and joint degenerative diseases, such as cervical spondylosis and scapulohumeral periarthritis. Not only can Gua sha be combined with cupping to treat respiratory diseases such as common cold, fever and cough, but also can be combined with acupuncture and bloodletting to treat capacitive diseases such as acne and chloasma. Unexpectedly, scrapping is also right for the prevention and treatment of sub-health and chronic fatigue syndrome.


  1. Attentions:

(1) It is normal if there is slight pain and itching in local muscles within 1 to 2 days after being scraped. Do not take a cold bath within 30 minutes after rash marks appear. In summer, do not expose to a fan or an air conditioner directly. Please keep warm in winter.

(2) Scrapping therapy has strict direction, time, technique, intensity, indications and contraindications. Improper operation is prone to casue adverse reaction and even aggravation of the disease. Therefore, patients should strictly follow the operation specifications and follow the doctor’s instructions, and should not operate at home at will.

(3) Patients with bleeding tendency, high skin allergy, extreme weakness and severe heart failure should refuse Gua sha treatment or carefully receive Gua sha treatment.


Prevention and health care

  1. Cold Gua sha therapy

For the Gua sha method of acupuncture points (like Fengchi, Taiyang, Dazhui, Fengmen, Feishu, Jiaji), safflower oil or Wanhua oil is smeared on the local skin of the acupuncture points. The operator holds the Gua sha plate tightly, evenly and gently scrapes the skin from top to bottom, and the painful parts should be repeatedly scraped, with each treatment lasting about 15 minutes. After rash marks appear, the operator should ask the patient to drink warm boiled water or ginger juice sugar water to sweat and relieve the exterior syndrome, and told the patient to receive Gua sha treatment every other day.


  1. ChloasmaGua sha therapy

Clean the skin first, then apply moisturizer evenly. In order of forehead, eye circumference, cheek, mouth circumference, nose and lower jaw, the facial Gua sha plate is used to scrape along the muscle texture from the middle of the face to both sides or scrape in a single direction conforming to the bone shape. In case of color spots or painful parts, the operator should scrape harder and faster, and then rub the taiyang, yin tang, yingxiang, zygomatic bone, chengqi, sibai, chengjiang, daying, jiache and chloasma. At this time, the operator should scrape slowly, gently, evenly and smoothly until the skin is flushed, and there is no need to scrape to generate rash marks. Two times a week, and four weeks as a course of treatment.