When a client comes to me with chronic pain they want to get rid of, I know exactly what tool to reach for in my tool belt – Gua Sha.

Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese scraping technique that uses a flat-edged tool to soften tissues and muscles to facilitate myofascial release. Some common applications are neck pain relief, shoulder pain relief, back pain relief, and helping get rid of water retention through lymphatic drainage. Gua sha can help you achieve more mobility, have less pain and detoxify your body.  While a single Gua Sha session can deliver noticeable effects with measurable improvement, continued sessions enhance the benefits and get deeper into the layers with each consecutive treatment, like removing layers of an onion.

While the pressure can vary from being light to firm depending on the area it’s being applied and by the comfort level of the client, Gua Sha is able to get deeper into troubled areas and work them out faster than traditional massage alone.  For example, if you are suffering from low back pain, it may take 40 minutes to address with a deep tissue massage and may only take 15 minutes with Gua Sha.  The tool adds to what the hands can do. In some cases, it can redden the skin bringing stagnant blood up to the surface for the body to eliminate and with some people cause temporary discoloration. If this is a concern, lighter pressure can be used to avoid reddening of the skin.

It works well for pain relief, and especially well with tight knots, stress induced tension, and sports injuries. Gua Sha really shines in its ability to assist with detoxification by stimulating the lymph system.  When there is stagnation or lack of movement in the body, lymph fluid can get built up in the tissue and cause swelling and pain. The pain free scraping method of Gua Sha helps to break up and move stuck fluids and manage chronic pain areas.

Additionally, studies have also shown Gua Sha to help ease chronic migraines and neck pain.

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying Gua Sha, get ready to have your tightness melt away! Please note that it’s contraindicated alongside the use of blood thinning medications.

The best part is that if you live in Portland, Oregon or surrounding areas, Focus and Flow Massage can bring Gua Sha to you with its Mobile Massage Service. This is one of several specialty services that we offer as a mobile service to your home or office throughout the entire Portland and Salem area.