Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM practitioners have used a special tool to perform Gua Sha massage for hundreds of years. Gua sha tools are often weighted to help the practitioner who is doing the procedure to apply pressure. The pressure may form light pink to dark purple areas on the skin called sha. Sha is the result or reaction when the blood circulation is improved, and nutrients are replenished in the fascia and muscle tissues. Clients who suffer from long term or chronic illnesses/overuse syndrome will have more scar tissue and/or adhesions and the sha (petechial reaction) will be dark in color, whereas an acute soreness from exercise will be a light pink.
When the build up of scar tissue or the fascia is tight from overuse or strained, these connective tissues compress the blood flow and nerve endings. Gua Sha releases (smoothes) the connective tissues to replenish blood flow, and remove excess lymph.
The vibration of the gua sha tool can also indirectly affect the deeper layers and structures of the body such as the bones, tendons, ligaments, and internal organs. New energy and vitality to structures surrounding the area injured or overused, is a byproduct of gua sha.