Gua sha (刮痧) meaning “scraping sha-bruises,” is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising. Practitioners believe gua sha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing. Gua sha is sometimes referred to as “spooning” or “coining” by English speakers.
It is not recommended to scrape to the point where one gets purple, bruising skin. Just scraping up to the point where there’s petechiae (bright red spots) is enough. With that in mind, if one does not take a shower within 8 hours after the treatment, the markings from Gua Sha typically subside as quickly as in 72 hours.
Facial gua sha is a much more gentle version of the technique that is typically used on the body in Traditional Chinese Medicine. On the body, the aim is to break down tissue blockages and stagnation and to release toxins. While on the face, it is much more relaxing and comparable to a facial.