I Had Recurring Pain Until I Tried This All-Natural Chinese Healing Method

Read more to learn why I turn to Gua sha instead of any over-the-counter medicine for pain.

I Tried It

Gua sha is a natural method to reduce inflammation rooted in Chinese medicine that includes a ceramic spoon, metal cap with a rounded edge, or jade formed into a round-edge instrument. In recent years, in addition to rolling with either jade or rose quartz, skincare enthusiasts have encouraged us to add them to our self-care regimens. What's often left out of the conversation is that Gua sha is an effective tool on our entire bodies, and not just our faces.

A few months ago, I came across Tiffany Haddish having a Gua sha tool used on her neck by a licensed Gua sha massage therapist called Tha Muscle Whisper. The comedian was seen being scraped to eliminate the build-up and lactic acid in her body. Instantly, I was intrigued because of the inflammation that was running rampant throughout my own body.

I'm currently on a weight loss journey and when I reached my halfway point, I started to run and incorporate HIIT workouts into my weekly routine. About two months into my workout regimen, I had unbearable pains in my legs, and upon visiting the doctor, I discovered that I developed tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendon caused by repetitive use or injury. My body wasn't ready for the righteous workouts that I had started to enjoy, and my doctor recommended that I explore physical therapy––and injections.

I was confident that physical therapy would help, but months in, I was still in excruciating pain. My daily commute to the city had me walking a lot, and for the treatment to work, I'd have to spend hours a day off my feet so my therapist recommended that I'd consider cortisone injections.

Yasmine Jameelah/xoNecole

A month into the injections, I realized that it was a short-term fix, and I wanted to fight this holistically. I researched massages, doctors, and nothing spoke to me the way Gua sha did.

I had a FaceTime call with Jackie, Tha Muscle Whisperer, and she and I worked to tackle the inflamed areas of my body that I'd been searching for relief in. The next morning, I woke up with bruises––but days later, I felt so much relief and I now scrape at least two times a month.

Finding deeper relief from Gua sha scraping has empowered me to explore healing in multiple areas of my body where pain and trauma lived. Often we don't realize that our body holds onto pain just as much as we do, and now I turn to Gua sha instead of any over-the-counter medicine.

Here's what I've learned since using body Gua sha healing:

Why Gua Sha Works


The root word of Gua sha, Gua, comes from traditional Chinese medicine and is often referred to as scraping. The motion used causes tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin called capillaries to burst and creates red or purple bruises. Gua sha is used to eliminate lactic acid, and inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin's surface allows for practitioners to improve blood circulation, break up fascia, and promote healing. While facial Gua sha scraping is used to improve wrinkles, and de-puff our faces, body Gua sha scraping is often used solely to reduce pain.

What Gua Sha Can Help To Eliminate

Gua sha can help eliminate muscle tightness, pre-menopausal pain, inflammation, breast engorgement, cellulite, knee pain, migraine headaches, carpal tunnel, arthritis, and repetitive strain injuries.

What To Expect After Gua Sha Treatment

When it comes to post-Gua sha treatment, you can expect bruises and soreness in the body. The marks itself will go away within a few days but to give yourself relief, apply ice to the inflamed area.

Body Gua Sha VS Face Gua Sha


The strokes that are used in scraping for the face are milder, in comparison to body scrapes as they are a bit more intense, and typically oil is applied to the area. But do not let the pain deter you from the healing that will take place in the aftermath, it's the best pain I've ever felt.

You Shouldn’t Scrape If You:

  • Have medical conditions affecting the skin or veins
  • Bleed easily
  • Take medication to thin their blood
  • Have deep vein thrombosis
  • Have an infection, tumor, or wound that has not healed fully
  • Have an implant, such as a pacemaker or internal defibrillator

(Via Medical News Today)

How To Find A Gua Sha Massage Therapist

While many people (especially during COVID-19) are practicing self-healing, it's recommended to only seek out a licensed Gua sha massage therapist.

Our bodies hold inflammation, pain, and trauma in certain areas consistently. Before going to receive an injection or over-the-counter pills, consider this holistic method and be empowered to explore an alternative to healing.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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