Gua Sha

What is gua sha?

gua shaGua sha, also known as scraping, is a healing technique that uses a smoothed-edged bone or stone tool to release muscle tension. Also called the Graston Technique™, which is performed by athletic and physical trainers, gua sha dates back to Eastern Asian medicine. Like acupuncture, cupping and reiki, gua sha works to unblock qi (pronounced “chee”), a Chinese philosophy of energy medicine that regulates spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance. It is believed that blockages of qi cause pain and other negative conditions in the body. 

Gua sha treatment is performed by our team of skilled acupuncture practitioners to help heal both acute and chronic conditions, including:

  • Inflammation
  • Muscle pain related to spasms and other musculoskeletal conditions
  • Respiratory issues including the common cold, bronchitis, asthma and other conditions
  • Scar tissue

The benefits of gua sha have been long known in alternative medicine, and have been researched in clinical trials in Western medicine. These trials showed positive initial results for patients with neck and lower back pain.  

During your gua sha visit: What to expect

During a gua sha treatment, the acupuncturist isolates the area of skin where there is an injury or imbalance and creates a therapeutic rash using a technique called “press-stroking,” which involves rubbing a smooth-edged instrument across the surface of the skin several times for five to 15 minutes in a downward direction away from the head. The rash is believed to alleviate pain and other conditions attributed to congestion of blood and qi by increasing the surface circulation of blood. 

Gua sha is most often used on the back, neck and shoulders. For some, gua sha can cause discomfort and leave temporary marking or petechiae (the end of blood vessels opening up below the skin of the treated area). 

Gua sha is primarily used as a complimentary treatment to other therapies including acupuncture, massage and physical therapy. Your gua sha practitioner will work with you to determine how many sessions you need.

Gua sha sessions are $44.

Gua sha locations

Henry Ford Center for Integrative Medicine offers services at multiple locations throughout metro Detroit. For more information about our locations, call (833) 246-4347.

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Contact our Integrative Medicine team

by calling (833) 246-4347 or schedule an appointment through MyChart.


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