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Gua Sha in Coronado With Brittany Durkin

The rise in popularity of gua sha (aka “kerokan”), a form of traditional East Asian therapy, is a relatively recent phenomenon in the United States. And since there are only a few practitioners of gua sha in San Diego, it’s important to ensure that you’re going to the right therapist licensed in and experienced in administering gua sha.

Brittany Durkin at Peak Health Group is a Coronado gua sha practitioner with a doctoral degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. In collaboration with Peak Health Group, Durkin Acupuncture is here to provide their expertise in administering the ancient healing science of gua sha.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing technique and natural alternative therapy that makes use of a massage or scraping tool. It requires scraping the skin with the tool to improve circulation. Gua sha may also be used as a complementary therapy for people with chronic pain.

How is Gua Sha administered at Peak Health In Coronado?

The gua sha therapist or technician first applies massage oil to your skin. Then, using a smooth-edged instrument called a gua massage tool, they start to scrape the skin repeatedly with long or short strokes going in a downward direction. The scraping action helps to stimulate microcirculation in soft tissues.

The scraping motion is meant to break up the “chi” or stagnant energy that is believed to cause inflammation. This helps to treat chronic pain, which is usually associated with some form of inflammation. Thus, the rubbing motion not only breaks up the chi but also promotes healing and reduces inflammation.

Gua sha therapy is usually administered on the back, neck, arms, buttocks and legs. It is also being promoted as a facial rejuvenation technique. Wherever you may need to have gua sha, your gua sha therapist will usually begin using mild pressure until the optimal scraping intensity is reached.

The Health Benefits of Gua Sha

Aside from reducing inflammation, muscle pain and chronic pain (e.g. fibromyalgia and arthritis), gua sha is also known to provide relief to other conditions:

Migraines and Headaches

One study involving a 72-year-old woman suffering from chronic headaches showed that after 14 days of receiving gua sha, her migraines improved. This outcome indicates that gua sha may be an effective treatment for headaches.

Neck Pain

A small group comparative study comprising 48 participants was designed to gauge the effectiveness of gua sha in alleviating neck pain. The group was divided into two subgroups. One subgroup was given gua sha treatments, whilst the other was tasked to use a thermal heating pad for treating neck pain.
A week later, it was revealed that those who had gua sha treatment experienced less neck pain compared with the other subgroup.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a type of viral infection that targets the liver, causing liver inflammation, damage and scarring. A case study revealed that a man with a liver inflammation was administered gua sha. The effect was that after 48 hours of treatment, the patient’s liver enzymes decreased, thereby reducing the possibility of liver damage.

Breast Engorgement

Some breastfeeding women experience having breasts overly filled with milk. The breasts become so swollen and painful that even hungry babies find it difficult to latch. Although this is a temporary condition, it can be uncomfortable and painful.


In one study, women who had just given birth were subjected to gua sha therapy starting from their second day after giving birth up until the time they had to leave the hospital. During the follow-up weeks after the birthing date, the researchers found out that fewer of the participant women experienced breast fullness, engorgement and discomfort, thereby making breastfeeding so much easier.

Tourette Syndrome

People who suffer from Tourette syndrome exhibit involuntary movements, like vocal outbursts, facial tics and throat clearing. In one case study, a combination of “acupuncture, herbs, Gua-Sha, and lifestyle changes” helped reduce Tourette syndrome symptoms by as much as 70 percent.

Perimenopausal Syndrome

As women age and move closer to menopause, they experience specific symptoms like irregular periods, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and hot flashes.
One study involving 80 women exhibiting perimenopausal symptoms divided the women up into an intervention group and a control group. The women in the intervention group were subjected to 15-minute weekly gua sha treatments on top of conventional therapy for a period of eight weeks. The women in the control group received conventional therapy within the same period.


After the study, it was revealed that the perimenopausal women in the intervention group experienced a greater reduction of symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, headaches, and anxiety.

Skin rejuvenation

A lot of women today swear by the skin rejuvenating effects of gua sha. Some commonly reported skin benefits include brighter skin, reduction in acne and the disappearance of dark circles.

In China, where cupping is widely practiced, this treatment is particularly popular with those experiencing any form of muscle or soft tissue pain, and for those with skin or digestive problems. It is also a common form of general detoxification.


If you are experiencing symptoms of pain and discomfort, or are having other health issues, cupping treatment may be the right solution for you. In order to ensure that this is the right form of therapy, consider getting a professional diagnostic test that can determine whether cupping therapy can benefit you.


Side Effects of Gua Sha Therapy

As a natural and traditional therapy, gua sha is generally safe.
However, even when it’s not supposed to cause you pain, the scraping motion can affect the appearance of your skin.

All the rubbing using the massage tool can cause tiny blood vessels close to the surface of the skin to burst, thereby leading to minor bleeding or bruising. However, the bruising goes away in a few days’ time. Others experience getting temporary skin indentations which also eventually disappear.

Is Gua Sha for You?

As with any type of therapy, gua sha is designed to help promote overall wellness through the alleviation of inflammation and better blood circulation.
However, if you’ve had surgery within the last six weeks, have a clotting disorder or are taking blood thinners, we advise you against trying gua sha. At the very least, you should consult with your integrative healthcare provider regarding your intent to have gua sha therapy.

Gua Sha In Coronado at Peak Health Group

The practice of gua sha requires a deep understanding of the ancient philosophy that lies behind it. With the expertise and experience of Brittany in the field of Chinese medicine, you know you are in good hands at the Peak Health Group in Coronado.

If it’s your first time to consider gua sha in Coronado, San Diego as a form of therapy or if you have more questions about it, please reach out to us.