How do you Gua Sha on your leg?

gua sha on leg

When we hear the term "Traditional Chinese Medicine" (TCM), associations like incense sticks, golden Buddha statues, or houses with curved, overhanging rafters come to mind.


Nonetheless, that's not all that sets Chinese medicine apart from the Western one. Whether we talk about acupuncture, Shiatsu, Qigong, or massage, these methods incorporate healing methods that are more than 2,000 years old, most of which have now been scientifically confirmed and recognized. And one of the most extraordinary massage techniques is the well-known Gua Sha.


What is Gua Sha?

In East Asia and Southeast Asia, Gua Sha is used to relax the skin, improve blood circulation, and drain any stagnant lymph fluid. With the help of a special scraper, that's usually a gemstone, Gua sha stimulates the natural meridians on the whole body.


How does Gua Sha work?

Before the actual stimulation begins, the area to be treated has to be oiled. Some prefer tiger balm, other body oils or creams, so you can choose what works best for you. The oils are supposed to ventilate the meridians, refresh the blood and loosen physical and energetic blockages.


When starting to perform Gua Sha, use the rounded edge of the scraper, and press it onto the skin until it becomes reddened. This movement activates the lymph and drains any fluid waste stuck around this area while at the same time promoting relaxation and improving the immune system.


When you press-stroke the skin with a rounded edge during gua sha, the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) beneath the surface can break. Try to feel or palpate your knee quads and detect any muscle tightness or other abnormalities. The strokes should involve a significant amount of pressure, but not as much pressure as you'd experience when getting a deep tissue massage.


Press strokes should go over the knee-tendons and performed gently. While we scrape the front of our knee, due to blood stagnation in the area, petechiae (punctual bleeding) and ecchymosis (spot-like bleeding) can develop. These vascular changes in the skin are recognizable by noticing tiny deep red, blood clot-like nodules appearing on the skin while the scraping is done.


If you suffer from a meniscus tear or have other chronic knee-related pain, this ancient Chinese scraping will bring better circulation to the whole area, and help reduce inflammation in the body.


The massage can be performed with the help of a massage tool. The movements should be from up to down, while you gently start scraping the knee-tendon. To successfully activate the whole area, alternate the scraping of your inner and outer squads by repeating the same direction of the movements.


After the gua sha treatment is completed, it's advised to take it easy for the rest of the day and avoid alcohol or any strong substances.


Though not everyone experiences pain relief from gua sha, pain relief is usually felt immediately after the first session.