The aftermath of gua sha may look a little intimidating at first, but the benefits of this dermal friction technique make the discolorations more than worth it. Gua sha is often used to relieve both chronic and acute pain. A layer of oil is applied before a smooth edged instrument is used across the area. The skin color revealed after applying gua sha can tell more about the nature of the disease. The purple color showing up on my neck here is not ideal. Can you tell I have some neck tension?
Gua sha in an area of tension helps reduce pain by promoting circulation and breaking up adhesions in the tissues. In severely tight or painful areas, gua sha will often bring up dark red or purple markings. In less severe areas, there may be only a slight pinking of the skin. Gua sha has been practiced for generations in China but recently has been gaining popularity under other names, such as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization and Graston technique. Many times gua sha almost immediately dissipates the pain… don’t worry, any markings will quickly dissipate too!