Cupping is one of the oldest therapies in Chinese medicine dating back over 2,500 years. Cupping is a technique where the practitioner applies heat into a glass cup and then applies that cup to the body. The heat creates negative pressure like a vacuum and draws the skin up into the cup. The negative pressure stimulates and breaks up stagnation in the deep tissues, encouraging the flow of qi, blood, and lymph. This relaxes tight muscles, releases toxins, encourages fresh blood flow and reduces inflammation.
Cupping is commonly used for muscular aches and pains and is effective for relieving pain in the localized areas of the low back, neck and shoulder region as well as for the generalized pain of fibromyalgia. Cupping also opens up the chest and lungs to treat respiratory problems such as cough, bronchitis, asthma, and congestion. It can even benefit menstrual problems and digestive problems and support healthy metabolism and weight loss.
Acupressure involves the stimulation of acupuncture points on the surface of the skin. It is sometimes referred to as “needleless acupuncture” because the same points are stimulated by finger pressure rather than the insertion of needles to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal itself. This therapy is gentle and non-invasive and ideal for children and the elderly. It is effective for the full range of conditions that are treated with acupuncture. However, the effects are less potent and require a longer course of treatment.
Moxibustion is another ancient technique that involves the burning of the herb mugwort, or moxa, to facilitate healing. Dried moxa leaves are formed into a small cone and placed on the tip of an acupuncture needle and slowly burned while the needle remains in the acupuncture point. Moxa can also be rolled into a cigar stick and waved slowly over the acupuncture points. The radiant heat from the moxa penetrates deeply into the body to restore balance, promote circulation, and reduce pain. Moxibustion has a very long history as a longevity treatment that strengthens Qi and blood and supports the immune system for overall health maintenance. It is also used for many chronic disease conditions including digestive disorders, menstrual problems, infertility, and joint pain.
Auricular therapy involves the stimulation of acupoints located on the ear with small seeds. These seeds are painless and non-invasive and are affixed to the ear with adhesive tape where they can be re-stimulated for up to one week by massaging the ear several times each day. Auricular points are selected based on the auricular microsystem, which is a full representation of the anatomical and functional parts of the human body. Auricular points stimulate the cranial nerves on the auricle of the ear and send a direct message to the brain that results in a healing response. The power of auricular therapy lies in its ability to provide a continual reinforcement of this healing message.
Auricular therapy is particularly effective for treating addictions, mood disorders, stress, weight loss, pain and musculoskeletal and central nervous system disorders. Auricular therapy can be used alone but is most effective when combined with traditional body acupuncture.
Gua sha is an ancient healing technique used in Chinese medicine that involves the use of a blunt animal horn or stone to scrape along a lubricated area of the body. The unidirectional scraping intentionally creates a temporary therapeutic bruising or petechiae (redness). Gua sha breaks up stagnation and increases the microcirculation of blood in the local area. Gua sha also produces anti-inflammatory and immune protective effects that persist for days following a single treatment.
Gua sha is most commonly used for pain including headache, migraine, post herpetic neuralgia, and musculoskeletal pain including neck, shoulder, back, and knee pain. It is also effective in acute conditions such as fever, colds and flu, earaches, asthma and bronchitis. Gua sha is also effective in reducing inflammation and normalizing function in chronic inflammatory diseases.