In Gua Sha massage, the term “gua” means “scraping” or “to scrape”, and “sha” is the term used to describe the millet-like redness that may occur after the treatment that has been carried out. Interestingly, Gua Sha massage technically isn’t a massage at all. Rather, Gua Sha is the name of the instrument that is used during the treatment. This massage therapy can be performed on its own or it can be used in conjunction with another form of massage. Another name for this therapy is “spooning”. The most common scraping instrument that is used is a buffalo horn, which has a very smooth comb-like shape – without the teeth. Jar lids or Chinese soup spoons can also be used.
The Gua Sha, or instrument, is used because the hands alone may not be enough to dispel heat, increase oxygen to the area, and stimulate blood flow in the way that the Gua Sha can. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the buffalo horn has cold properties, and it is therefore effective in helping to dispel heat from the body.