Gua Sha is an Eastern Asian healing technique involving skin massage with the rounded edge of a scraping tool or stone roller, in order to increase microcirculation and relieve blood stagnation.
Recently, Gua Sha has gained popularity on social media as a tool to improve facial structure and skin health. However, it has long been used to treat specific ailments, including the common cold, muscular issues, and even skeletal issues.
What does the Clinical Research say?
A literature review compared several clinical studies examining the effects of Gua Sha treatment musculoskeletal issues. Several studies compared Gua Sha to acupuncture, herbal medicines, and electrical stimulation treatments. Overall, the review concluded that the majority of the studies showed Gua Sha as an effective treatment, however some were lower quality RCT’s.
The conclusion from the review was that overall reports were promising, but methodological quality was low and more evidence is needed to confirm the effects of gua sha on pain relief.
Another individual clinical study examined the impacts of Gua Sha on microcirculation, and found that “Gua Sha caused a fourfold increase in microcirculation PUs at the treated area for the first 7.5 minutes following treatment and a significant increase in surface microcirculation during the entire 25 minutes of the study period following treatment.” (Read more about this study, here.)
The same study also revealed a decrease in myalgia at the sites, but that this is not due to distal increase in microcirculation. Rather, there seems to be another unexplained pain relief effect of Gua Sha practice.
Other evidence suggests that Gua Sha may help to improve immune functions of the skin and body, as well as to boost skin circulation and even the skin's response against intradermal antigens.
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