TreatNOW Treatment of the week: Gua Sha

Coming soon, find & book who’s near who’s good and who’s available NOW! Salon owners and therapists enter your email here

Coming soon, find & book who’s near who’s good and who’s available NOW! Salon owners and therapists enter your email here

When it comes to alternative Eastern medicine, acupuncture is probably the most commonly known treatment that is said to offer health as well as beauty benefits. However, recently celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow are singing the praises of Gua Sha, a traditional Chinese medicinal treatment that looks, feels and yields results more extreme than acupuncture. Gua Sha is certainly on the more uncomfortable side of the treatment intensity scale, but it is also heralded as one of the most effective way to release toxins and reinvigorate the body.

TreatNOW looks into the practice of Gua Sha and how you could you benefit from it:



Gua Sha is where the surface of the skin is scraped with an implement, such as a coin, to produce light bruising which will help to release toxins and stimulate blood flow to areas of muscular tightness or congestion. The treatment can feel quite uncomfortable due to it essentially causing trauma to the skin’s surface. However the end result looks much worse than it feels and you should finish the treatment feeling invigorated as opposed to being in any form of pain. The implement is normally scraped in a downward motion following the natural blood and energy flow of the body, or what is believed to be so in Traditional Chinese Medicine. When the skin starts reddening, this indicates to the therapist that the blood flow beneath the skin is being stimulated and that they are using the correct amount of pressure to yield effective results.


For those who suffer from stiff joints, tightness or deep muscular pain a build up of unwanted toxins caused by physical and mental stress is usually the main cause. Gua Sha is a method by which encourages these toxins to be released, therefore easing tension and leaving the effected area feeling lighter and reinvigorated. It can also be good for those with lung complaints, especially in times of colder weather, for easing congestion and helping to loosen up breathing.

Credit to Zen SPA treatments on Flickr, 2011

Credit to Zen SPA treatments on Flickr, 2011

The benefits of Gua Sha are similar to that of its related treatment such as spooning, cupping and what the French like to call ‘tribo-effleurage.’ However Gua Sha is said to be far more effective because it uses more than just hands to work the top layers of skin. By using an implement, such as a coin, the therapist is able to intensely target the toxins.


Although it sounds like quite a niche treatment, Gua Sha is growing in popularity – in part due to its celebrity fans – and is available at a variety of salons across London. The Dandelion Acupuncture Practice at Frank Cochrane Hair Salon has been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine and is renowned striking the balance between medicinal treatments and a wellbeing focused atmosphere. Zhen-Hua is a peaceful Notting Hill based salon that can offered Gua Sha treatments that are individually tailored to your own wellbeing. In addition,the Hammersmith Apothecary also offers Gua Sha and prides itself on having highly qualified practitioners who expertly handle this type of intense treatment.

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