Experiencing Traditional Chinese Gua Sha in New Haven, Connecticut

You may have heard of cupping, but have you heard of the amazing benefits Gua Sha massage therapy has on overall health and wellness?


Using a stainless-steel tool or traditional ceramic soup spoon, our experienced and licensed massage therapists lightly scrape the surface of the skin to release trapped circulation in the fascia and muscles. While it is not deep work, it can be experienced as feeling relaxing to almost intense, depending on the severity of the muscle tissue restriction. We work with you so it is never more intense than you prefer. 


The “Sha” is the trapped circulation that is released when scar tissue or fascia is broken up. Whenever there is Sha present in the body, the spoon pulls it out into the surface layer of the skin, relieving tension by leaving a red mark that lasts for 24-48 hours. (These tiny red polka-dots are distinct and different from bruising). 


Sha can be the result of chronic tension from stress, tight fascia from limited mobility, or scar tissue resulting from an injury.


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The following conditions will often be relieved with Gua Sha:


Repetitive stress injuries
Sufferers of Tennis Elbow and similar repetitive strain injuries can try Gua Sha to help stimulate blood flow to the aggravated area. It can also help to speed up natural muscle recovery from other sport-related injuries and reduce future damage by encouraging recovery from fatigue.

Recent injuries that have healed
Gua Sha massage therapy can help skin rejuvenation and speed up the body’s natural healing process. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, restricted motion because of scarring, muscle tightness or aches, pulled or torn muscles and persistent inflammation you may well find that Gua Sha is the best massage technique for you. This ancient technique can even assist with the healing process of established and recent C-Section adhesions and other surgical scars, however, we do recommend you discuss this with your health care provider before scheduling your Gua Sha massage appointment with us here at The Well for Women in New Haven.


Certain types of long-term chronic pain

Since Gua Sha techniques release tensions in the body, when integrated into a usual session, this approach can be the best massage for back pain and lower back pain.

Certain kinds of tension headaches
Our bodies response to stress generates heat within the body. This heat is pushed up through our body and away from our key organs, heat can then get trapped in the body which can result in headaches. The Chinese technique of Gua Sha body scraping helps this heat to escape through lymphatic drainage whilst also stimulating blood flow to ease the pain.

Some types of psychosomatic pain 

This is pain that seems influenced by emotional states. Gua Sha can help to loosen suppressed and stuck emotions by stimulating the movement of fluids around the body. Gua Sha muscle scraping helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to rest and digest fully, meaning we naturally feel better.

This ancient Chinese ritual stimulates the movement of Qi a Chinese term for energy or vital life force. Traditional Chinese medicine says that Qi can become trapped due to suppressed emotion, stress and exhaustion. These emotions creation stagnation in our liver Qi which translates into feelings of anger, bitterness and resentment, preventing fluids like blood and lymph from moving around the body. By implementing Gua Sha massage therapy we can help to loosen these stuck emotions by stimulating the movement of our bodily fluids.

Certain kinds of rashes, such as poison ivy and even shingles 

It’s worth noting that Gua Sha is done around the area of the rash, not on the rash itself. You’ll find that when you have a rash and apply pressure on the area, you’ll cause the skin to blanch which is then slow to fade, this means Sha is present and needs to be released via lymphatic drainage.

The common cold or flu
This Chinese medicinal treatment is effective especially on the first day of symptoms, however, we don’t suggest you come in while sick. This type of massage promotes lymphatic drainage, and it can help with decongestion, sinus infection, runny nose, cough and bronchitis. It has also been shown to break fevers and decreases symptoms of pain associated with cold and flu. This health and wellness massage technique does a fantastic job of aiding the body’s natural recovery.


Breast engorgement 

The Journal of Nursing Research in 2010 found that Gua Sha relieved engorged breasts. We can easily integrate Gua Sha into both a postpartum body massage and maternal massage.

This Chinese approach to massage therapy does a fantastic job of revitalizing and rejuvenating the body. It has been found to diminishes stress, fatigue, and severe exhaustion.

You can specifically request a session of Gua Sha Fusion (up to 20 minutes embedded in a 60-minute session of massage) or we can integrate it into your regular session in the moment if it seems to be a good fit for your particular needs. 


In our experience, this form of massage creates permanent change in the body where there have been long-lasting restrictions. 


Get in touch and let us know if you want to experience Gua Sha massage for yourself!

"I fell and injured my shoulder several years ago and did extensive PT. It healed but I always experienced chronic pain and limited range of motion. I have been seeing Julie for massage but recently we agreed to try a new technique called Gua Sha. It has been nothing short of amazing!!! I now can report that I have FULL range of motion in my arm. I had increased blood circulation to my shoulder area but no bruising at all. I would strongly encourage you to discuss with Julie. She and her crew have all become certified in this massage technique and you should definitely give it a try."   --Liz D.