Ancient Chinese therapy:
Scraping blockades away
Article in Magazine BETER (, Summer 2001

In China guasha is  a people's therapy. In Holland it is totally unknown, despite this therapy has remarkable results. BETTER has gone through a research, let themselves 'scraped' by one of few guasha therapists in Holland.

…We are on a visit to MeiMei Yu, a slim Chinese woman who works as a Guasha therapist. She studied Chinese medicine, acupuncture and later trained as guasha therapist. MeiMei's Dutch isn't yet fluent, speaks mixed Dutch and English, her husband, Han Stiekema, doctor specialized in natural medicine, is also with the interview. Sometimes he made things more clear if MeiMei failed to express herself well. He indicates his wife is the foundation of the practice, because she is the one who brought guasha to Holland.

Almost painless treatment

MeiMei quietly explained what guasha exactly is: "Guasha means scraping disease out of body. 'Gua' means scraping, 'Sha' means the something like stagnated energy in the body later could manifest itself into complaints or diseases". The scraping is performed by a special designed scraper. MeiMei uses a splendid looking, light green, flat jade stone scraper. Metal or horn scraper are also suitable. The first guasha treatment takes about one hour. During the first consultation MeiMei listens to patient's reason why they come to her. After that she start the therapy. Mostly guasha is applied on the back because certain area on the back corresponds with our organs.

During the guasha treatment a special herbal oil is applied on the skin and subsequently she scraped with the jade stone over it. On the places where the blockades are in the body, the red spots appears like bruises or scratches. These bruises are not on the skin, but in the skin, the color ranges from deep

red to even black. The darker the blockade is, the deeper the blockades is and the chronic the disorder is. Thanks to the herbal oil the one who receives the treatment does not feel any pain. Though after a guasha treatment the back looks red and blue, they disappear within one week. The treatment lasts maximal half a hour and depending on the complaints more treatment are recommended.

Remarkable results

In China guasha is a people's therapy. In countryside most villages have their own guasha therapists. Besides many Chinese apply guasha themselves, also for prevention. The therapy is very old. Guasha originated from the ancient times and existed before acupuncture. According MeiMei guasha therapy achieves remarkable results. This because during a treatment guasha works on the skin, tissue, lymph system, meridians, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. This again has its effects on brain and immune system. In this way guasha works on all functions, systems and organs of the body.

MeiMei: "various kinds of diseases and symptoms are treated by guasha. It helps very well like back pain, RSI, allergies, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, high blood pressure and heart problem. Specially chronic disorders have the good result from it. I treated somebody with mastropathy (benign lumps in the breast which can turn into malignant ones later). After several treatments the lumps have totally disappeared. Even the doctor could not believe his eyes."

MeiMei treats herself and her husband regularly. Han Stiekema: "In some way or another, I become very creative after a guasha treatment. Many good ideas comes out my brain. For me that also means guasha has the effect on the brain."

Guasha also for Chinese beautician

Well, it sounds almost too good to be true. MeiMei offers me, as I said this, spontaneously a guasha treatment. Of course I didn't hesitate. I told her I have problems with my back and neck and a slightly RSI already for years. MeiMei asked me a couple of questions. Then I sit on a chair with my head and arm bent in front on the therapy table. She is putting herbal oil on my back and start gently scraping over my back and neck with jade stone. It feels a little strange but it does not hurt. On my back there red spots appears. According to MeiMei this indicates the blockades. A few minutes my arm and shoulder become aching due to the unusual position. MeiMei is quietly going on with the treatment and strangely enough the pain become less. Then she also treat my right shoulder and upper arm. These are quiet sensitive. Finally she combs with the jade stone through my hair and scrapes very gently over my face. This is really very relaxing.

MeiMei tells me, in China guasha is also practiced by beautician. I can image why. After guasha, my back, neck, shoulders and arms feels relaxed. Everything is smooth and I look forward how long it stays like that way. Finally MeiMei shows me with the help of a mirror how my back is looking. It looks scary, as if I have been terribly maltreated. But fortunately it does not feels like that. I received a glass of water from her because after a guasha treatment it is very important to drink in order to have the toxins who has been released through the treatment transported out of body.

The days after the treatment I had no or very little complaints of my back, neck, shoulders and right arm. What I did have was the red spots and scratches remain sensitive for few days. I have to admit I am quite impressed by guasha. If the technique is so effective, why it still unknown? According to MeiMei and her husband that is until now nobody from China has promoted this therapy in Europe. According to the couple MeiMei certainly is the first but not last. MeiMei is not only guasha therapist, but also teacher, training others become guasha therapist. As a result, Holland in 21st century with some delay still can get acquainted with a therapy from the stone age.

I am very enthusiastic about this therapy

Two years ago Claire Hülsenbeck form Amsterdam get into guasha therapy. Claire: "I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome therefore I am very sensitive to all kinds of symptoms. Two years ago I came to MeiMei the first time. First treatment for me is just a try-out because in fact I did not believe it yet. The first time it is quite painful and my back was totally red. I thought: "one time is enough, never again." But the second morning I felt fantastic. I felt energetic and it remains the rest of the week. Several weeks long I received a weekly treatment, it really benefits me. The treatment is also not so much hurting compare to the first time. I got really convinced by the effectiveness of guasha. I went to MeiMei for acute tonsillitis, she scraped over my throat with the jade stone, and once all the symptoms were gone. I found it is so miraculous. Now I only go to MeiMei for acute complaints. I often suffer from bronchitis and cystitis, guasha helps me enormously with that. Thanks for guasha I gained more energy, I recover more quickly if I have acute complaints, and I suffered less from my CFS, although it is not yet over."

Text: Majanka Keijer Photography: Menno Strassen

Contact MeiMei Yu:
P.O. Box 10355
1001 EJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel./fax: 31(20)6624037


BETER 2 Summer 2001


Last update: 25/03/03