Why Gua Sha Shouldn’t Hurt

Gua Sha Should Not Hurt LearnGuaSha


It always saddens me to hear someone say that they had Gua Sha done, and it was very painful. Or they are sore for days after a session they received from someone.

Gua Sha need not ever be very painful. If done right, at most it may cause a little discomfort or ticklishness, but most people will say it feels as good as a massage or even better! That’s not to say Gua Sha won’t LOOK like it hurts, but that is just the SHA that has come to the surface of the skin.

I never understood why some people thought Gua Sha hurt until I had it done by someone else who had a very different Gua Sha technique than I have. She picked up her Gua Sha tool and attacked me ferociously. I was wincing and trying to get away. She said, hold still, it’ll be over soon as she attacked on my neck fast and furious. I felt uncomfortable, and it really did hurt.

Well, this is not my approach to doing Gua Sha at all!

I feel strongly that Gua Sha can be a pleasant experience for just about everyone.

And here’s the understanding of Gua Sha… Gua Sha is an energy technique. It’s not a manual bruising technique, like The Graston Technique®, which has its own merits but is very painful and is meant to bruise the skin. I like that technique for specific issues, and a chiropractor used it once to heal a deep muscle pain I’d had for years. But I prefer Gua Sha for most muscle and ligament pain because it doesn’t hurt (if done right) and is incredibly effective.

Gua Sha works just as well with light pressure. It’s all in the scoop! See what I mean in this short video (from our new class) …we even did it slow motion to show you the correct way.


For the basic Gua Sha Stroke, you should scoop your tool (whatever tool you choose) with your wrist to get the stuck energy out. This can be done very lightly or with more pressure. The only difference between light and medium pressure is that lighter pressure takes longer to get the redness (Sha) out. As long as you’re not in a big rush, there’s no reason to put someone through such discomfort. There’s a very simple answer: Lighten Your Pressure and Take Your Time.

There’s more to Gua Sha than the level of pressure, way more. Levels of Pressure is just one lesson in our new online Learn Gua Sha for Massage Therapists online course.


The course includes real treatments in a real clinic so you can see what it’s like to include Gua Sha in your massage practice. And we provide NCBTMB CE Hours for completion of the course as well.

If you’d like to learn more about incorporating Gua Sha into your practice, please download our free mini-Ebook entitled

8 reasons Why You SHOULD Add Gua Sha to Your Practice. You will also receive more information on Gua Sha from us. Enjoy!

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