Does "Gua Sha" really works?

If you’re wondering about the correct gua sha pronunciation, it’s “gwa sha.” Rather than using the hands, this ancient (likely overly 2,000 years old) Chinese therapy uses a tool to rub or scrape the skin’s surface in long strokes. The purpose is to help move energy, known as qi or chi, around the body. 

Here’s how it can help you relax your body:

1. Improves Pain (Including Back and Neck)

One of the top uses of gua sha on the body is for pain. A randomized study published in 2017 evaluated the effects of gua sha on chronic lower back pain symptoms and inflammatory biomarkers in elderly subjects. The researchers found that during the one-week follow-up period, while both treatments improved movement of the lower back, the amount of pain reduction and disability improvement were notably greater in the gua sha-treated group compared to the hot pack group.

2. Major Skin Booster

Many people love gua sha facial massages because of their potential skin-boosting and anti-aging benefits. Since research has shown gua sha can boost circulation, it’s not surprising this type of facial is known to have impressive effects on the health and appearance of skin. It is said to decrease puffiness, clear congested pores, firm the skin and make it generally more radiant than it was pre-treatment.

3. Acne Helper

While it’s important to avoid using gua sha if you have cystic acne or open lesions, some people have found facial gua sha to be helpful in their fight against breakouts. For example, after eight to 10 weeks of weekly professional facial gua sha, acne-sufferers have seen improvements in their chronic acne.