Gua Sha for Chest and Shoulders

Materials needed: Gua Sha, coconut oil, or massage oil

Gua Sha or “scraping” is a technique that can be used for pain relief from muscle strain or tightness. In today’s video, we will go over how to use Gua Sha to treat pain in the shoulders and chest. 

Before you begin, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of the shoulder so you can avoid scraping over the collarbone and the spine of the scapula. These areas have a very thin layer of tissue and scraping directly over them can cause skin tearing. You’ll also want to apply a lubricant like massage oil or a small amount of coconut oil to the skin before you start scraping to avoid skin irritation. 

Regardless of where the pain is originating from, Dr. Ulery recommends scraping both the front and the back of the shoulder. To determine which direction you should scrape, first make sure you are following the direction of the muscle. Then, try scraping in both directions along the muscle to see which produces the most gristle or crunchy feeling. Once you determine which direction produces the gristle-like feeling, focus on scraping that spot until the sensation subsides. Repeat this process for the front, back, and outside of the shoulder as well as the upper trapezius muscle. When scraping, use firm, steady pressure and avoid putting excessive force on the tissue. Also, remember to avoid the bones at the top of the shoulder, collarbone, and spine of the scapula. 

When using Gua Sha on the pectoral muscles, Dr. Ulery recommends that the person receiving the therapy lay with their hand behind their head so that the muscle is in a stretched position. Avoid scraping over the nipple for both males and females. Additionally, for females, avoid scraping over the breast tissue. Instead, make sure it is covered and pulled down so that you can work on the muscles underneath it.

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