Although freshly popularized, gua sha is ancient. It dates back to the Paleolithic period, the Stone Age — an era of pre-history distinguished by the original development of stone tools which demonstrate a large percentage of historical human technological advancements.
In Chinese, gua means to scrape or rub.
Sha translates to red; the term used to describe blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue as petechiae- a flush of blood under the skin.
[While those translations may sound aggressive, it is not. There is no excessive redness or bruising. Treatment is incredibly relaxing; strokes are slow and purposeful, melting stress and tension from foreheads, jaws and necklines.]
Gua sha intentionally raises the sha or petechiae. This treatment does very well to eliminate lymphatic and any other stagnant fluids that may collect themselves between the many layers of tissues. In modern medical terms, these fluids contain metabolic waste that has become congested in the skin surface, tissues, and muscles. This type of accumulation leads to poor oxygenation and ultimately, tissue degradation, aka aging, which is often premature.
**Those with Botox and Fillers of any variety are not recommended to utilize gua sha techniques as they can contribute to migration of such substances. THE GOOD NEWS: gua sha is powerful enough to replace botox & fillers with regular applications.**
I had the pleasure to learn this technique more thoroughly from Dr. Michelle Gellis, board certified, lic. acupuncturist, and teaching member of the faculty of the University of Integrative Health in Maryland.