Cupping is excellent for relieving surface tension and tightness in muscles in a way that hands-on work may not. Cupping typically is not painful. However, because it involves the use of suction, it will more than likely leave a significant bruise that may take 5-7 days to fade.Cupping is an old folk remedy that is used as part of Chinese Medicine, but has also been used in parts of Europe and South America. It refers to the use of suction cups typically applied to the back or abdomen to alleviate pain. Many of our patients from other countries remark, “My grandmother used to do this to us when we were kids!” Indeed, cupping is a useful tool when treating the tightness and achy muscles that accompany a cold, flu or physical injury.
Moxibustion-or “moxa” for short- refers to the process of warming acupuncture points by burning the herb artemesia (mugwort) over the point. This can be done indirectly- using a “moxa stick” held over the surface of the skin-or by placing the dried herb directly on top of a needle. Occasionally, moxa can be burned directly on the skin with an ointment as a barrier. But of course this must only be done by a trained professional. Moxa increases blood flow to the area and warms the tissue, thereby increasing the energetic function of the acupuncture point. Moxa also intiates an immune response which can prevent illness or can encourage healthy blood counts in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Some other common uses for moxa:
- use on the little toe can encourage a breech baby to turn
- moxa on the big toe can stop heavy uterine bleeding
- it can be used over the abdomen to stop pain or to encourage blood flow to the uterus and ovaries for fertility enhancement
- it can be used at a point on the top of the head to encourage strong HcG levels and to maintain a pregnancy
Qi Gong translates as “cultivation of qi.” It is a practice used for health and wellness throughout the world. Qi Gong includes simple exercises that can be practiced individually to maintain health by people of all ages. This self-cultivation is referred to as “internal qi gong.” There is another form of qi cultivation or “external Qi Gong” in which an experienced practitioner uses his or her hands to adjust and balance the qi of the patient.
Tuina is a style of Chinese bodywork similar to massage. It includes very specific hand movements and has the goal of moving stuck qi and blood or bringing qi and blood to a deficient area. In our practice, both Tuina and Qi gong may be used at the end of treatments to consolidate the effects of the acupuncture. Tuina is also a very effective treatment for children, and can be taught to parents for home treatments.
Shiatsu is a Japanese style massage technique that focuses on restoring qi flow in the meridians. Usually, it involves consistent pressure to a point or meridian, rather than the kind of rubbing or manipulation of muscles found in Swedish massage. Often, it is performed over the clothes. Again, we may use this technique at the end of treatments in order to treat a particular area or meridian.