The Origins of Gua Sha

origins of gua sha

It may seem unbelievable to you, but gua sha is as old as the Ming Dynasty if you really think about it. This Chinese scraping technique was used as an ancient alternative for manual massage, where simple hands were just not enough to tread deeply into the knots of your muscles.

During the past few years, guasha has enjoyed a nice place in the spotlight – with even the most modern salons undertaking this technique. But where was it actually invented – and who were the ones to use it the most throughout time? This article should help clear things out for you.


Where Did Gua Sha Originate?

Some people say that Gua Sha originated from Japan, but in fact, its origins can be traced back to China. This practice involved using a tool to scrape the skin of the person, resulting in light petechiae.

Those who practiced gua sha believed that the technique could release unhealthy toxins from the blood, using the tool to stimulate the blood flow – and therefore, promoting the metabolic repair of the cells. This would allow your body to heal much faster.

The first traditional uses of gua sha led to various unsightly marks – ones that are similar to the aftermath of cupping. Because of this, gua sha marks used to be confused with physical abuse. Many would actually see this technique as an act of violence, which is why its use was frowned upon on children.

However, the Asian people did believe that the goods outweighed the bads, which is why this technique kept being used throughout the centuries.

Where Has It Mostly Been Used?

This ancient technique was most popular to be used in China – that’s one thing that we can be sure of. However, this technique rapidly caught on throughout the rest of the world, especially since people could see the number of benefits that the technique brought. The practice easily spread from Asia to America and Europe, becoming an important tool for modern medicine as well.

English speakers called this technique in a variety of ways, including “coining,” “spooning” or scraping. It was also referred to by the French as the “tribo effleurage,” being used in numerous body care techniques, including facial massages.

That being said, the country that has actively been using gua sha as a natural way to remove the toxins from your body was Vietnam. This technique was most popular for the Vietnamese in terms of removing a cold – to the point where they referred to the technique as “cao gio.” This roughly translated into “to scrape wind,” as catching a cold in Vietnam was often referred to as “to catch the wind.”

In the end, this Chinese technique did start small, but its benefits were recognized by practitioners all over the world. Gua sha nowadays is no longer as “violent,” in the sense that the tools used no longer leave those kinds of bruises. When used correctly, it can still efficiently set your body into motion.