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Gua sha for Anxiety: A Comprehensive Guide

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Anxiety disorders are more than just occasional nervousness or fear. They're conditions that persist and can interfere with your daily life. But did you know that Gua sha, an ancient Chinese healing technique, can provide relief for those suffering from anxiety disorders? In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore how Gua sha can help manage anxiety symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Understanding Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are not the occasional anxiety you might experience about your job, a trip, or your future. These are feelings of fear and anxiety that linger and start to affect your life in a detrimental way. For many people, anxiety, stress, and depression mix freely together to create a perfect storm of ill health.

Gua sha: An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety

Gua sha is a traditional Chinese therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation. This ancient healing technique offers a unique approach to treating anxiety disorders. It's not just about relieving symptoms; it's about addressing the root cause of the problem.

How Does Gua sha Help with Anxiety?

In my North African clinic, I've seen firsthand how Gua sha can alleviate anxiety symptoms. I've treated many patients who were often medicated to relieve their symptoms but not to alleviate the disorder causing them. They were often the medical clinic cast-offs whose conditions were poorly understood and treated. And amongst these 'tough' cases, many people had an anxiety disorder either as a side-show to some other condition or the main feature which brought them to me.

From the outset, Gua sha has proven to be a great treatment for many people with anxiety. There are certain key areas in which a considerable amount of relief can be felt by people suffering from anxiety. While these aren't fixes for everyone, they have a good statistical chance of having some positive effect on the majority of people with anxiety disorder that passed through my clinic.

Gua sha Techniques for Anxiety Relief

Here are the places that I recommend to treat with Gua sha for anxiety relief:

1. Back

  • Zone: The Heart and Diaphragm Back shu zones.
  • Technique: Scrape downwards. Avoid the spine.
  • Location: On the upper back between the shoulder blades at position 1 and 2.
  • Duration: 10-20 strokes or until petechiae or 'sha' appears on the skin.


2. Thigh

  • Zone: The Stomach zone.
  • Technique: Scrape downwards towards the knee.
  • Location: On the front part of the thigh at the quadriceps.
  • Duration: 10-20 strokes or until petechiae or 'sha' appears on the skin


3. Hand

  • Zone: Heart and head zones.
  • Technique: Press the heart zone on the palm of the hand and then scrape towards the middle fingertip.
  • Location: On the palm and finger.
  • Duration: 10-20 strokes. No petechiae or 'sha' normally appears on the skin.


4. Foot

  • Zone: Head and digestion zones.
  • Technique: Scrape downwards at the bottom of each toe and at medial (big toe) side of the sole.
  • Location: On the sole of the feet.
  • Duration: 10-20 strokes. No petechiae or 'sha' normally appears on the skin.


5. Head

  • Zone: Head and chest zones
  • Technique: Use a short back and forth pressure technique at 1 and 2 at the hairline and at 3 which is located at an area called Baihui at the top of the head.
  • Location: On the scalp at the hairline and top of the head.
  • Duration: 10 seconds at each zone and then repeat. No petechiae or 'sha' normally appears on the scalp.
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Hi, It's Clive

Director of Komorebi Institute

Hi, It's Clive

From researching underfunded healthcare in Uganda, to running a thriving chronic illness clinic in North Africa, to collaborating with hospitals in Sri Lanka to train staff and empower communities - My journey has been dedicated to democratizing access to beauty and health.

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