Gua Sha, pronounced Gwar-shar, is another technique that acupuncture practitioners may use to move stuck Chi, or treat sore, stiff muscles. A round edged tool is used, traditionally this was buffalo horn, but these days they’re made of plastic. The skin is covered in oil and then the tool is firmly rubbed along the area that needs to be treated. Like cupping this may result in a redness of the skin.
There isn’t a huge amount of research available in the use of Gua Sha but essentially, the technique is not dissimilar to a strong massage. This study from 2011 found neck pain severity after 1 week improved significantly better in the Gua sha group compared with the control group, and called for more research into this modality.