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Gua Sha and Cupping

Gua Sha

Gua Sha is a healing technique which involves the scraping over a pre-oiled skin area.

Commonly, a ceramic Chinese soup spoon, a rounded piece of jade, or a buffalo horn, is applied.  

This method is used on areas where there is congestion, such as a painful area, i.e. neck pain or for a respiratory problem like bronchitis. The friction from the scrapping produces the appearance of small red, pin-sized areas on the skin, called "sha", which fades in 2-3 days.  

The "sha" promotes normal circulation in the congested areas and the person will notice immediate relief from their pain, stiffness or cough.


Cupping (shown above) refers to an ancient healing practice used in many cultures. The cups are applied to the skin by a suction technique on painful areas of the body. When there is pain there is blockage in the flow of energy in that area.  

When energy is blocked, it causes an acid or toxin build up and causes more pain and discomfort. Utilizing cupping techniques, the blockage is pulled up out of the deeper tissues and moves it to the skin's surface. Once on the surface, it is easier for the body to eliminate toxins through the superficial blood supply.  

It also brings fresh, new blood into those areas, which helps to vitalize and restore proper blood flow.

Cupping is diagnostic as well as therapeutic and can indicate exactly where the problem is. The area of the body that is not congested will not "color" whereas the congested area will. If the problem is a muscle spasm the skin under the cup will "color", if it is a nerve or bone problem, it will not "color" at all.  

Depending upon the severity of the problem, the skin color under the cup will be a pink to a deep purple. If the congestion is long standing and deep, the darker the color.  

It will take a day or 2 to disappear if the coloration is light and up to a week if it is very dark. The benefit of cupping is immediate, the pain in the area is reduced and the healing process may be shortened by weeks as it removes energy blockage in ways that needles cannot.