• Sarah Chute

Review of Gua Sha tools and Manual from GuaShaTools.com

Updated: Oct 10, 2019


Gua sha is an ancient modality that involves scraping the tissue. Sha means sand and is know in the western world as petechiae. This and is considered a therapeutic reaction. This reaction is therefore imperative to the treatment and thus finding a tool that is designed to release sha quickly and comfortably is a must for clinical use. Gua sha may very well have been the first form of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilizations (IASTM), but is different from the graston technique which usually uses stainless steel tool. These tools are not ideal for gua sha as the edges are not thin enough to raise sha effectively and they are heavy in hand. Jade and other stone tools are also generally to thick to release sha and if they are dropped they will break. These gua sha tools are made of polycarbonate plastic, which is known for its durability. They are double beveled meaning the edge surrounding the entire tool in slanted on both sides to form a thin scraping surface. They are light in hand and allow the therapist to feel what is happening within the tissue. These tools are truly an extension of your hands. Another important feature of these tools is that they can be used with high level disinfection which usually involves a 7.5% hydrogen peroxide solution. Stainless steal tools can not be used with this solution nor can other gua sha tools like buffalo horn and wood which are too porous. Also, be aware and avoid using products that contain hydocarbons which can cause the tools to crack. These include Vick's Vapo rub, Biofreeze, clove, nutmeg, rosemary, wintergreen and white flower oils. DMSO will also damage the tools. All of these tools come with a lifetime guarantee if they ever become damaged.

Matt Lott, the designer and maker of these amazing tools knows what he is doing and has been providing therapists, athletes and gua sha enthusiasts since 2005. With a MS and a BS in occupational therapy and over 20 years of clinical experience, he has created a product that is truly unmatched.


https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/




Gau Sha Orthopedic Soft Tissue Tool (GOST ) SERIES


GOST -1

Best for: Face, hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, ankle, feet,

Indicated for::

medial and lateral epicondylitis,

trigger points

mobilizing scar tissue and fascial adhesions

Price:$18.95 U.S

Link: https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/products/guasha-orthopedic-soft-tissue-tool-1


I love this tool for facial gua sha. The smaller curved edge fits perfectly around the chin, the jaw and over the nose . The larger curved side is great for working under and around the zygomatic arch. As a general rule, Matt suggests using the round convex edges for areas of the body that are flatter and extremities are treated with the concave edges.

GOST - 2


Areas to be treated: back, shoulders, chest, upper arm calves, smaller extremities

Indicated for:

shoulder impingment

TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome)

trigger points

plantar fascitis

back pain

hypertonic IT Band

mobilizing fascia

chronic soft tissue injuries

Price: $18.95

Link: https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/products/gost-2


This tool is amazing for releasing sha on the back. I've been able to use this tool on my clients with plantar fasciitis with great success. Its also great to work on the pectoralis muscles which are often affected from poor posture. Its also really good for treating medial and lateral epicondylitis.



GOST - 3


Best for: large muscles group like glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors

Indicated for:

sciatica

piriformis syndrome

hamstring, quad and hip flexor strains and sprains

hypertonic IT Band

treating soft tissue that can not tolerate pressure

Price: $29,95 U.S

Link: https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/products/gost-3


The textured edge gives the practitioner control when working larger areas that can be harder on the hands. This tool has a slightly thicker edge which allows the tool to be used on hypersensitive tissue. You can use one hand or two to mobilize the tissue. There is a certain comfort level attained with this tool when working the larger muscles that clients often guard which means that clients feel better faster and therapists do not have to over exert themselves within the treatment. I aslo want to mention that even when sha is not released the treatment can still be very effective in increasing circulation and changing the temperature of the tissue.



Gua Sha Professional Series


These tools have the same great edges as the GOST 1 and 2 but with the addition of a textured 1 inch handle. The handle is hollow which keeps it nice and light. This is ideal for therapists with arthritis and other issues of the wrist and hand. If you are doing a lot of soft tissue work, then these tools are best as they help protect the users hands. This is because the pressure is directed into the palm of the hand which then allows the finger tips to relax and rest on the blade which assists in palpating the tissue. The handle helps protect the fingers from hyper extending which happens often with other tools like jar lids spoons and flat tools. The textured handle also provides stability when the hands are slippery from oil or massage lotion.



GP - 1


Best for : fingers, along the radius and ulna, achilles tendon

Indicated for:

mobilizing scar tissue

releasing soft tissue

increase circulation

increase ROM in PIP's and DIP's

reducing swelling within the fingers

Weight:2.8 ounces

Treatment edge length:1 1/4 inches

Handle:1 inch diameter, 5 inches long

Price: $27.95 U.S

Link: https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/products/guasha-professional-tool-1


I like to use this over the cervicle spine to raise petechiae and along the erector spinae. This tool feels so good along the fingers for those who do a lot of typing and anyone who uses their hands a lot. I use this for my self care after a long day and my hands ache.



GP - 2


Best for: the palm of the hand, medial and lateral epicondyle of the elbow, forearms neck, ankle, foot

Indicated for:

medial and lateral epicondylitis

dequervain's tendindosis

soft tissue issues of the wrist including tendinopathy

Deputren's contractor

post surgical procedures to release muscle entrapment

Weight:3.0 ounces

Treatment edge length: 2 1/4 inches

Handle: 1 inch diameter, 5.75 inches long

Price: $27.95 U.S

Link: https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/products/guasha-professional-tool-2



The shape of this tool fits perfectly into the thenar and hypothena eminance. Again a great tool for those who type a lot and use their hands excessively.



GP - 3


Best for: upper arm, biceps, triceps, deltoids calf muscles, neck, upper and lower back

Indicated for:

trigger points

releasing myofascial pain in upper arm

increases flexibility of the muscles of the upper arm

Weight: 3.6 ounces

Treatment edge length: 3.25 inches

Handle: 1 inch diameter, 5.0 inches long

Price: $27.95 U.S

link: https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/products/guasha-professional-tool-3



This works great to release hypertonic paraspinal muscles of the lower back when the concave arch is placed over the lumbar spine. I use this tool often along the upper fibers of the upper traps and even along the lateral neck. The longer round edge feels great around the mastoid process. I will often use this on calves that are too sensitive to perform cupping or massage.

Weight = 3.6 ounces

Treatment edge length = 3.25 inches


GP - 4


Best for: shoulder, chest, smaller quads and hamstrings, upper back, rotator cuff muscles,

Indicated for:

trigger points

TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome) rotator cuff impingment

releasing trigger points in the rhomboids, levator scapula and other muscles of the upper back

releasing hypertonic musculature

releasing chronically shortened muscles

Weight = 3.8 ounces

Treatment edge length = 5.75 inches

Handle: 1 inch diameter, 5.75 inches long

Price: $27.95 U.S

link: https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/products/guasha-professional-tool-4

This is probably my most used tool. I use it for everything. Its perfect for working on the chest, which is such a hard area to release and this tool allows me to work within my clients comfort zone. I love to put the pecs on a bit of a stretch and work deeper as the musculature starts to release. I get great results using the somewhat pointy end to release trigger points on the back and I often use it on the posterior and lateral neck to decrease pain and hypertonic muscles and increase range of motion and flexibility. Its great for releasing sha along the erector spinae



Clinical Applications for Chronic Soft Tissue Pain and Dysfunction


Price: $24.95 U.S

Link: https://guashatools-com.myshopify.com/products/gua-sha-clinical-applications-for-chronic-soft-tissue-pain-and-dysfunction


This 100 page manual written by Matt himself is a gem of a book. Both beginner and seasoned therapist will benefit from the information found in this manual. I love how Matt is able to explain so much so in a way that anyone can understand. From theories on how gua sha affects the body to how it can treat a myriad of conditions. There are also many case studies. I love how he explains blockages and toxins from an western perspective while staying true to eastern thinking. I like his suggestions of either pushing the tools or dragging them which I have been doing for years intuitively but now I know why.There is so much i love about this manual and its absolutely worth investing in.














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