What is Gua Sha & How Does it Work?

Man using KOAPRO Gua Sha tool at computer desk

Gua Sha is an ancient, Eastern Asian manual therapy that’s used for healing and wellness. This method uses a tool to gently scrape the skin while improving circulation and detoxification. It’s used for recovery, inflammation, pain, skin health, healing, and wellness.

Gua Sha means to “scrape away illness.” It’s one of the oldest and most widely used methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for decongesting the body and alleviating sickness. It’s also known to “activate blood circulation to dissipate blood stasis," according to TCM theory.

Picture of person's back getting Gua Sha

According to the principles of TCM, when your qi (pronounced “chi”), or energy, becomes sluggish or stagnant, it can cause health problems. Gua Sha can help move out inflammation and congestion to promote total body circulation, qi, and healing.

What Are the Benefits of Gua Sha?

Gua Sha stimulates blood flow and lymphatic drainage, which helps shuttle nutrients to the skin, boost collagen and elastin, purify and cleanse the body, and regenerate you inside and out. It can also help address tension, pain, inflammation, and scar tissue while boosting your immune system, range of motion, and overall wellness. Some studies show it even helps improve sleep quality and has a variety of therapeutic benefits.

This self-care practice is also incredibly relaxing and therapeutic for your nervous system. It’s now more important than ever to spend time connecting with ourselves and anchoring in beneficial rituals that support our emotional and physical wellbeing.

Person's leg getting scraped by gua sha tool

“We’re just promoting that flow of qi through the body. We’re helping to ensure a better blood supply and proper nerve conduction so that everything is moving through your body as it should. In doing Gua Sha, the hope is that any symptoms you’re experiencing will subside. That’s the overall goal.” 



How Does Gua Sha Work?

Scraping the skin’s surface helps stimulate your body’s fluids. This process helps move out metabolic waste from deep within your myofascial tissues and rejuvenate the body, while also relaxing and restoring your myofascial tissue and total body circulation.

How To Use Gua Sha For Best Results:

  1. Start by cleansing your skin and Gua Sha tool
  2. Apply oil or a thick serum to help the tool glide easily on your skin.
  3. Start with light pressure. Use gentle, steady strokes in the direction of lymphatic flow. Scrape down, away from the head, or sideways, away from the spine.
  4. As your tissues relax and decompress, you can ease into more pressure as needed. Be sure to listen to your body, monitor its response, and ease up on the pressure if you feel discomfort.

Be sure to drink extra water to help your body with the detoxification process.

When is the Best Time to Gua Sha?

The best time is when it works best for you. You can Gua Sha in the morning to brighten your eyes and reduce puffiness, or at night to relax and revitalize your muscles and help you get quality sleep. You can also take a quick KOAPRO Massage break any time during the day, or while lounging at home watching your favorite shows.

What Are the Best Gua Sha Tools?

The KOAPRO Gua Sha Fascia Massage Tool decompresses and relaxes tension by targeting the body’s myofascial tissues in a uniquely gentle and effective way. Unlike other massage and Gua Sha tools, our patent-pending HUMANTouch™ technology allows the KOAPRO’s fingers to comb through the myofascial tissues and release adhesions that cause tension, pain, and dysfunction.

Which is Better, Gua Sha or Jade Rolling?

Similar to rolling devices, Gua Sha strokes apply light pressure to the skin and facial tissues to boost circulation and cellular rejuvenation. Unlike jade rolling, Gua Sha strokes create a light stretch of skin and facial tissues, resulting in more effective, noticeable myofascial release and decompression. Simply put: both methods are awesome, but Gua Sha is most effective.

Mistakes To Avoid With Gua Sha

The most common mistake while using Gua Sha techniques is applying too much, vigorous pressure. Always ease in at your own pace and allow your body to relax and accept the treatment. 


Be sure to also stay extra hydrated to assist your body in moving out toxins and excess fluids.


Are There Potential Risks Or Side Effects of Gua Sha? 

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or blood coagulation issues, ask your doctor before using any therapy that stimulates blood flow. If you may be experiencing any of the following, please avoid Gua Sha and myofascial treatments until cleared by your healthcare provider:

  • recent surgery
  • health conditions, especially those affecting the skin and blood vessels
  • infection, tumor, or unhealed wound 
  • Sunburns
  • rashes 
  • areas with implants or fillers 
  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or any circulatory issues or blood clotting disorders
  • blood thinner medications or if you bleed easily
  • pregnant or nursing

Gua Sha is considered safe for most skin types. We recommend starting with light pressure on a test spot to see if your body reacts well to this treatment.

It’s normal for your skin to look temporarily flushed, pink, or red after using Gua Sha. After deep treatments you may even notice reddish or purple bruises. Cold therapy - such as ice packs, an ice bath, or cryotherapy - can help reduce the swelling and soreness and speed up the recovery process.

How Often Should I Gua Sha? Is It Ok To Gua Sha Everyday?

We recommend at least once a week per area.

If the area is sore or bruised, avoid using the KOAPRO Fascia Massage Tools or any deep tissue, myofascial release treatments until the area has fully healed.


Gua Sha is considered a safe, effective treatment. People all over the world use it to manage pain and discomfort and improve their body’s circulatory and immune response. For the best results, ease into the treatment at your own pace and monitor your body’s results.