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Graston technique vs Guasha

Last week, we talked about Graston technique and guasha looks similar in how both techniques treat patients. But indeed, the underlying approaches and the tools are completely different.


It is an ancient scraping therapy that has been popular in East Asia. It is based on the concept of ‘Ying-yang’. This practice involves scraping the skin surface with tools, promoting the flow of qi (energy) through the body. The aim is to create petechiae, which is traditionally called Sha. It is believed that the petechiae release excess heat and toxins through the surface. These scraping marks would usually resolve in a few days. Besides, guasha is integrated into relaxing self-care routines that can be done at home.

Graston technique

It is a soft tissue mobilization to deeper tissues, creating microtrauma in the affected soft tissues. It induces fibroblast proliferation which is necessary for tendon healing. As a result, it reduces soft tissue tenderness and dysfunction. This technique focuses more on improving mobility and range of motion. Graston technique is a relatively newer technique compared to guasha. Regardless, research has shown promising results in its effectiveness and pain reduction.

Differences in tools - Guasha works with smoother rounded-edged tools made up of jade or buffalo horn while Graston tools are usually made up of stainless steel.

To wrap up, both Graston technique and guasha promote the healing process but serve distinct purposes. Graston technique is ideal to tackle strained muscles and restore overall mobility. Guasha would emphasize releasing the toxins and excessive heat to treat the pain.

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