Gua Sha Color Meaning

Gua Sha Color Meaning

As the head of the wellness coach team at Find It Health, my goal is to provide an in-depth understanding of the meanings behind the different Gua Sha colors.

The Chinese therapeutic practice of Gua Sha involves scraping or stroking the skin in specific places of the body with an instrument, usually made of jade or horn, to relieve chronic pain and inflammation. In the process of scraping, redness or “sha” marks appear on the skin, which indicates a person’s health status.

Here is a list of what the different colors of the Gua Sha marks mean, compiled by a team of researchers at Find It Health.

Gua Sha Marks Meaning By Color

Pink Gua Sha Marks

Pink marks, though not as noticeable as deeper hues of red or purple, indicate a slight increase in blood circulation and movement of qi in the treated area.

They imply that the body’s healing response was successfully activated, although at a gentler level. It could mean there was less blockade in blood circulation in that specific area, but can also be a sign of blood deficiency.

Red Gua Sha Marks

Red marks after a Gua Sha session indicate increased circulation and energy flow and are the most common petechiae.

These marks show that circulation and energy flow have increased in the treated area, especially surrounding connective tissues.

The increased blood flow enhances oxygen and nutrient delivery to the tissues and implies that the Gua Sha therapy was effective in stimulating the body’s natural healing reaction to different chronic conditions.

Red Gua Sha markings are usually a positive indication and suggest that sluggish energy is being released, and vitality is being restored to the damaged area. This restoration leads to healing and relieves several ailments caused by the stagnation of qi, the body’s life energy.

Dark Red Gua Sha Marks

Dark red Gua Sha markings after a Gua Sha session indicate the presence of severe qi stasis in the treated area. These signify a blockade or stoppage of energy flow, specifically known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as qi.

This stagnation is frequently produced by persistent tension or inflammation. The dark red color indicates a more stubborn blockage, requiring more attention to this specific area during the Gua Sha session.

Purple Gua Sha Marks

Purple Gua Sha markings represent deeper tissue obstruction and stagnation in the area treated by Gua Sha. These signs indicate a deeper level of energy and long-term blood stagnation, which is often caused by chronic tension, injury, or long-standing imbalances.

The purple color, resembling a bruise, denotes a more severe and resistant type of congestion, highlighting the need for focused treatment in this specific area.

Purple Gua Sha marks give the practitioner useful feedback by showing areas of considerable energy and blood flow disruption that require particular attention to facilitate healing and restore balance to the damaged tissues.

Brown Gua Sha Marks

Brown Gua Sha marks are less common but can occur in some cases. They may indicate dehydration and point towards the need for someone to drink more liquids. The presence of dehydration can lead to many chronic health issues and can be prevented and corrected by adequate hydration.

Gradual Fading

The color and intensity of Gua Sha marks change over time. After a Gua Sha session, the marks may appear bright red, purple, or dark at first. However, once the body’s healing mechanisms take effect, the marks progressively diminish in a few days to a week.

The vivid colors fade to softer tints, such as pink or pale red, signifying increased circulation and the removal of stagnation. The slow fading of Gua Sha marks can also reveal insights into the body’s response to the therapy, representing the restoration of balance and the release of trapped energy and tension.

Why Do Gua Sha Marks Appear

Gua Sha is a technique for enhancing the body’s lymphatic and blood circulation. The process includes rolling or scraping a smooth jade instrument using gentle pressure on different parts of the body, such as the face, back, neck, arms, and legs.

After a Gua Sha session, it is natural for the skin to change colors. The colors can range from pink to scarlet to purple as the session goes on. The color change indicates enhanced blood circulation and better flow of qi.

The red specks brought on by Gua Sha are referred to as “petechiae”. The repeating strokes on the skin by the practitioner causes the blood cells to be pushed outside of capillaries and this causes the formation of petechiae.


Gua Sha Bruising

Gua Sha bruising is the discoloration or markings that can appear following a Gua Sha session. These bruises may develop on the skin as regions of blue, purple, or even black, similar to normal bruises. These marks, however, should normally dissolve within a few days.

Causes of Gua Sha Bruising

Gua Sha bruising can occur as a result of the scraping motion, which causes tiny blood vessels to break beneath the surface. Bruising is typically brief and diminishes with time if sufficient pressure is applied during Gua Sha by a skilled practitioner.

Differentiating Bruising from Sha Marks in Gua Sha

The process of Gua Sha involves removing blood stasis by scraping with a jade roller. This results in sha, markings on the body in different colors indicating different health conditions. But in some cases, the marks are of darker colors like blue, purple, or black.

This skin discoloration is produced by damaged blood vessels and broken skin, resulting in bruising. It is important to distinguish Gua Sha markings from bruising, as excessive pressure or vigorous scraping are generally related to it.

Tips for Managing Gua Sha Bruising

Some of the tips you can use to enhance healing and minimize discoloration from Gua Sha bruising include pressure adjustment and applying arnica gel or lotion.

Applying a cold compress to the swollen skin at regular intervals is also a good way to reduce swelling and inflammation.

You can also request that the practitioner use lighter pressure during the session, focusing on gradually increasing the intensity to avoid inflamed skin. Generally, bruises naturally disappear with time.

How Bruises Evolve and Fade after Gua Sha

Gua Sha bruising should normally resolve within a few days. Bruising is caused by traumatic bleeding and tissue damage. The marks shown after Gua Sha signify non-circulating blood and metabolic waste.

Even while the markings produced by Gua Sha may appear terrible to the untrained eye, the experience is quite calming and the bruises also disappear after a few days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do red marks mean on Gua Sha?

The presence of red marks on Gua Sha indicates greater blood circulation and energy flow in the treated area. They indicate that the gua sha therapy was effective in stimulating the body’s natural healing response. Red marks are a good sign, indicating that blood congestion has been released.

What does Gua Sha bruising mean?

The discoloration on the skin following a Gua Sha treatment is referred to as Gua Sha bruising. It happens when the Gua Sha scraping motion causes a tiny blood vessel to break beneath the surface, resulting in blue, purple, or black markings.

Gua Sha bruising can occur as a result of excessive pressure, forceful scraping, individual bruising susceptibility, or more reactive skin. While bruising is usually brief and dissipates over time, it can signal that the session was too intense for the individual’s skin or that the practitioner’s technique needs to be adjusted.

What are the different types of Gua Sha stones?

Various sorts of stones are often utilized as massage tools in Gua Sha. Jade stones, especially green jade, feng jade, and nephrite jade, are favored for their cooling capacity and their ability to balance yin and yang.

Rose quartz stones are also frequently used as a tool for facial massage because of their soothing, peaceful energy and are used for soft tissue mobilization. Bian stone, which is a volcanic rock, has tremendous therapeutic powers and is used for deep tissue treatment and pain alleviation.

How long does it take for Gua Sha to heal?

The recovery time following a Gua Sha session varies based on the individual’s skin sensitivity, the strength of the treatment, and the area treated. Gua Sha marks, including bruising and redness, usually diminish within a few days to a week.

Mild marks may fade faster, however, darker hues or bruising may take longer to heal. Applying soothing ointments or arnica gel, as well as practicing gentle self-care and preventing more aggravation, can all help with the healing process.


Based on the findings of the research team at Find It Health, the color of Gua Sha marks provides valuable information about a person’s current health status and how they are responding to the treatment. 

In order to get the most benefit out of Gua Sha treatment, one should seek professional assistance from experts who understand the meaning of these sha colors.

Find It Health Editor in Chief Luz Chacon Health and Wellness Coach Giving You Advice

Luz Chacon

Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!

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Luz Chacon Health Coaches at Find It Health and Stress Management and Natural Holistic Health Coaches