A survey on the prevalence and utilization characteristics of gua sha in the Hong Kong community

C. T. Lam, S. H. Tse, S. T. Chan, J. K. Tam, Wai Man Yuen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To conduct a community-based survey to describe the demographics, experience, and utilization variables among the users of gua sha living in Hong Kong. Method: A total of 3209 adult respondents were surveyed by using a short Chinese questionnaire. Results: Gua sha was found to have a one-year prevalence of 22.7% and four-week prevalence of 6.6%. The users were seen to be old of age and less educated. The majority believed that gua sha is beneficial to health, practiced in non-regular basis, and mainly employed for treating illnesses. For both male and female, the top two common illnesses to be treated were the respiratory and pain problems, which accounting for 74% of all users. Other illnesses included nervousness, heat stroke, fever, infection, dizziness, diarrhoea and vomiting, oedema, and constipation. As practiced by most respondents, unidirectional pressured stroking was applied repeatedly on the lubricated skin surface at the back region using various smooth-edged tools typically spoons. Almost all users reported the occurrence of skin blemishing and subsequently faded within 7 days after the gua sha treatment. Conclusion: The general population of Hong Kong was found to have high prevalence of gua sha usage. The utilization characteristics as reported by the users were generally aligned with the current scientific knowledge, in particular the treatment procedures and response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Gua sha
  • Prevalence
  • Survey
  • Usage
  • Utilization characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


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