Gua sha is used when there is qi and blood stagnation in an area causing stiffness, soreness, and pain. From a Western viewpoint, the waste products of cellular metabolism have become trapped in the muscle fibers. We primarily do gua sha for neck and shoulder pain, and is very effective with whiplash, fibromyalgia, and accumulated stiffness from years of small injuries. Gua sha involves vigorously rubbing the skin with a piece of jade, antler, or a ceramic soup spoon until a red looking rash appears on the skin - the redness is called “sha”, which literally translates as “sand”. The process can be slightly uncomfortable, like a deep tissue massage, but there is neither bleeding nor injury to the skin, the redness disappears in a few days, and gua sha can provide immediate pain and stiffness reduction.