The Gua Sha Treatment

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The Gua Sha Treatment
Directed by Zheng Xiaolong
Produced by Mark Byers
Zhou Puxiong
Paul Yen (associate producer)
Written by Mark Byers
Starring Tony Leung Ka-Fai
Dennis Zhu
Zhu Xu
Jiang Wenli
Music by Ye Xiaogang
Release dates
Running time
105 min.
Country China
Language English / Mandarin

The Gua Sha Treatment (Chinese: 刮痧; pinyin: guā shā) is a Chinese movie released in 2001 starring Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Zhu Xu, and Jiang Wenli. It is a story about cultural conflicts experienced by a Chinese family in the USA.


Grandfather Xu (Zhu Xu) comes from China to visit the family of his son, Datong Xu (Tony Leung), in St. Louis. While there, he gives his grandson, Dennis Xu (Dennis Zhu), a treatment of Gua Sha to treat a slight fever (being unable to read English labels of medicine). The authorities, however, mistake the harmless traditional Chinese medical treatment for child abuse due to the obvious marks left on Dennis' back. The family goes through hell when the child is taken away by the child protection agency. Meanwhile, Grandfather Xu leaves America because he finds that the living environment is really not suitable for him, as he feels that a simple, harmless treatment like Gua Sha, which is so common in China, is treated as child abuse in America. Furthermore, he cannot converse in English. An American friend of the father, Benton Davis (Joe Erker), tries gua sha and proves that the treatment leaves painful-looking marks that are not actually painful or harmful at all. Finally, the father is able to return home and the family is reunited. This movie is an example of the difference between western and Chinese culture.

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