While scrolling through social media, you may have seen trending videos of people
using a small stone tool to scrape their face. This wellness technique, known as “gua
sha,” is not just a new media trend, but a therapeutic tool that has been around for
thousands of years.

History of Gua Sha

The practice of gua sha originated in China and historical records date the use of the
technique back as far as the Stone Age. Traditionally, it was believed the technique
would help to scrape illnesses away and the practice was eventually written into major
medical texts. Nowadays, gua sha has become increasingly popular in the United
States and is routinely used by many providers, including acupuncturists, massage
therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists.

How it works

Through gently scraping against the skin, gua sha stimulates specific points on the body
that stimulate the flow of both blood and energy. The practice is rooted in the
fundamental belief of Traditional Chinese Medicine that many diseases are due to a
stagnant “qi” or energy throughout the body. Through using a gua sha tool, we are able
to release that stagnation and promote healing.

Most of the videos you see across media platforms are of facial scraping, which can
help to relieve facial tension, reduce puffiness, inflammation and sinus pressure. Yet,
this is just one of several uses. Gua sha can be done anywhere on the body to help
reduce inflammation from an injury, improve circulation, or increase range of motion.
Here at North Portland Wellness Center, we use our own cupping balm that works great
for this therapy during treatment, and ensures that the tool runs smoothly on your skin.


Gua sha offers a wide range of benefits for our health. It promotes lymphatic drainage
which helps our body to get rid of various toxins. It greatly reduces inflammation and
works wonders for relieving muscle tension, particularly in the head and neck area. A
2017 study found that gua sha was effective at reducing hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue,
and headaches in perimenopausal women who received weekly gua sha treatment.
Another clinical trial found that gua sha was effective at reducing the severity of
peripheral neuropathy in patients with diabetes.

Interested in learning more about this technique? Give our office a call and we will be
happy to answer any questions you might have.

North Portland Wellness Center

North Portland Wellness Center

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