Gua Sha in downtown Toronto

A soft-tissue scraping technique for pain relief, tension & improved circulation

A soft-tissue scraping technique for pain relief, tension & improved circulation

Price: $95/1 hour

Acupuncture Center Toronto - Cosmetic acupuncture points

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is an ancient pain-relieving soft-tissue scraping technique we use in our acupuncture clinic. It’s similar to cupping except, we use semi-precious gems and crystals to gently scrape and massage tight, painful muscles. This treatment has the dual benefit of being an excellent detoxification technique as well as a fast working type of bodywork. Our premium quality gua sha stones and comfortable technique are incredible for eliminating stubborn knots and pain.

This scraping technique is a very functional way to massage and knead larger musculature, as it allows us to utilize a gem stone tool that puts fixed pressure on the muscle and it’s associated dermatome in a precise location on the body. Most clinics use the back of a soup spoon or plastic tool to apply gua sha. Our tool box is filled with gems that have various healing properties and feel incredible on tight muscles.

Similar to cupping, this technique leaves purple marks. The more purple, the more your body needed care in that area. All totally worth it as it will improve range of motion and muscle performance while decreasing tension and pain. Gua sha is incredible and unbinding knots, loosening stuck shoulders and treating all kinds of muscle pain.

Getting the Gua Sha treatment

  • Gua sha stones are scraped on the tissue for approximately 10 minutes and the service is offered at Acupuncture Center Toronto as part of our regular 1 hour clinical acupuncture appointments at no extra cost.
  • Since gua sha doesn’t take a full hour we don’t offer it as a service on it’s own.
  • Acupuncture is combined into all Gua sha appointments as both treatments compliment each other.
  • All therapists at Acupuncture Center Toronto are trained and very experienced at providing gua sha.
  • To book this treatment, select “Clinical Acupuncture – 60 Minutes”. Let your therapist know you wish to try gua sha! We are happy to accommodate as long as it’s safe for your body and health condition. Please note we cannot promise the application of gua sha before patients have come into the clinic for their initial consultation. In most cases it’s safe.
Facial gua sha Acupuncture Center Toronto

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Facial gua sha Acupuncture Center Toronto

Gua sha relieves the following health conditions

  • Chronic neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Shoulder tension, impingement and rotator cuff injuries
  • Forward head posture
  • Tension headaches, TMJ problems
  • Muscle tendonitis, tendinopathy, synovitis
  • Tendon conditions- Tennis elbow, golf elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hip, knee and ankle pain from running, sports or athletic training
  • Tight IT band, Hamstring or quadriceps strain
  • Knee issues- patellofemoral syndrome, ACL and meniscus injuries
  • Post-surgical joint rehabilitation
  • Chronic repetitive ankle sprain, plantar fasciitis
  • Lung conditions including coughing, bronchitis and asthma
  • Injury and disease prevention
  • Organ detox
  • Overall physical and emotional well being

Running ailments – total care for the knee and IT band

This technique is great for Iliotibial band (IT) syndrome, aka “runner’s knee”. It relieves knee pressure on the lateral side of the knee where the IT band connects into the joint. This allows for less restricted movement and increased athletic performance. Think of this treatment as rejuvenating your knees from the beatings they take from running on Toronto pavement.

Heal neck and shoulder pain/stiffness

Got stiff shoulders? We can help! Our gua sha treatment is a swift and effective therapy to relieve stiff neck and shoulders. It works on frozen shoulders, “kinked” neck, and chronic shoulder injuries that just won’t heal. Shoulder conditions including tension, knots and stiffness are often relieved with just one gua sha and acupuncture application. After treatment, patients often walk out of the treatment room feeling lighter and looser and can turn their head and neck in a way they couldn’t before the treatment.

See what our service looks like in the video below. We are using gua sha treatment on a very common place of pain/tension on the upper shoulder.

Facial gua sha Acupuncture Center Toronto

Acupuncture Center Toronto only applies the best soothing Gua Sha techniques

  • We prepare the treatment area by applying lotion on the skin.
  • A quality gem stone tool (rose quartz, jade or another crystal) is used knead tight muscle knots and adhesions in the fascia.
  • According to Chinese medicine, scraping relieves pain, increases blood flow and stimulates the body’s immune response to promote the clearing of toxins and reduction of inflammation.

Gua Sha
Frequently Asked Questions

Usually once every week or every other week or until the purple marks have subsided. At Acupuncture Center Toronto, we believe that healing time needs space to see therapeutic gains.
We do not offer this treatment as a stand-alone modality as it only takes approximately 10 minutes. This is an auxillary modality with acupuncture and thus we offer it as a free optional add-on to every 1 hour acupuncture appointment.

  • Yes they are similar! Both cupping therapy and gua sha are Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities that are used with acupuncture.
  • Both treat muscular pain.
  • Both increase oxygen and local blood circulation to soft tissues of a troubled area
  • Both cupping and gua sha help repair injury, stop pain, and restore range of motion and the working ability of muscles.
  • Similar to cupping, gua sha looks much worse than it feels, and after treatment patients often feel a weight has been lifted from the muscle tension they habitually carry.
  • The color of the Sha marks formed differs person to person for both cupping and gua sha.
  • Gua sha is different from cupping in that treatment literally involves a scraping sensation as the tool runs across the surface of the skin, whereas cupping therapy involves suction and sometimes pulling or dragging of cups along a muscle when practitioners employ the type of cupping where the cups are slid across the skin’s surface like a reverse massage.
  • Purple marks from gua sha are band like while cupping marks are circular
  • It’s often best to let us decide based on how your tissue feels to us which modality is best for your body.
  • Gua sha does indeed feel like one is being scraped, often mixed with gentle massage, but everything is kept within your comfort level.  Our practitioners will check in with you during treatment to ensure the sensation is comfortable. A treatment will only work for you if your body is able to relax during the treatment.
  • Gua sha produces similar satisfaction of an invigorating deep-tissue massage. Your body will feel like it’s been worked in the best possible way.
  • Gua sha can be slightly tender, but its application often immediately relieves stubborn pain and pressure from pulled or strained muscles. Any soreness experienced during the procedure should spontaneously dissipate within a few days. We encourage patient feedback throughout treatment to make sure you can relax while in our care.

Gua sha is not safe for all health conditions and tissue. Similar to cupping, the purple or red marks left from the treatment usually fade within a few days to a week. If you have a bleeding disorder, have swelling or are on blood medications, gua sha should not be performed. There may be other conditions or states of health where gua sha is not safe. We can only asses if gua sha would be safe and helpful during your first visit after our initial consultation.

During pregnancy Gua sha isn’t typically recommended. It is also usually not performed on those too frail or weak to bear treatment nor is it for those with bleeding disorders, or those taking anticoagulant medications, like warfarin. Those with tissue damage, swelling or open cuts should not receive this treatment.

Wait till after your event.  This treatment will definitely leave large or small, hickey-like marks or bruises on your skin that can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks.

The scraping down of metabolic refuse enables us to effectively break down fascial restrictions that may just be the root of acute or chronic pain. Gua sha tools can often provide deeper pressure than massage into narrow areas that may be otherwise inaccessible by cupping and really dig deep to access stubborn build-up and muscle knots that are the root of tension.

The strokes intentionally creates ‘sha’, tiny red spots called petechiae, which are broken capillary blood vessels on the on skin’s surface. Petechiae are a sign that the treated area has been profoundly cleansed, and dead blood cells and other toxins pulled out. Regions containing more petechiae are likely where the majority of muscle stiffness and tissue adhesion are located. Gua Sha and the formation of petechiae brings amplified blood and oxygen to the affected area and encourages the body to repair and rebalance itself after several treatments.

Chinese Medicine maintains that Gua Sha connects the qi flow between acupuncture points, balances the yin yang of the body and supplies fresh blood to the affected area to eradicate cold and clear stagnant blood. Western medicine also embraces the gua sha, although you may hear it referred to by the term ‘instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization’ or the Graston Technique. This treatment is essentially interchangeable with Gua Sha, and typically employed for chronic or acute pain due to injury.

The technique originated in China where traditionally it was used as a home remedy to relieve muscle pain and tendon injuries. Gua sha loosely translates to “scraping sand” as this method generates abrasion along the surface of the skin with one-directional sweeping strokes. Gua means ‘to scrape’ while the term Sha means ‘sand’, referring to the red marks speckled with petechiae which materialize on the skin’s surface upon the application of gua sha. This “sha” is caused by the split of capillaries at the skin’s surface. The goal is to create micro-traumas to enhance tissue healing and remove pain from the affected site. This technique removes extraneous waste bound up in tight muscle tissue so healthy new cells are free to generate.