Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to heal itself by stimulation of specific acupuncture points along energetic pathways called meridians or channels. Thin, sterile, stainless steel needles are gently inserted to promote balanced flow of energy. In Chinese medicine, this energy is referred to as “Qi” and can be described as the subtle pulse of life force that animates us. Through a complex diagnostic system, practitioners are able to determine how to regulate the flow of qi and restore balance in the body.
Acupuncture is widely known in the West for pain management. Extensive scientific research has proven its efficacy for this condition. However, acupuncture is very effective for treatment of many conditions such as
A highly effective treatment method, electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture that uses a small electric current between a pair of needles. This creates a larger area of stimulation by the flow of current from one needle to the other. In the United States, electroacupuncture has been studied for its efficacy as a form of anesthesia; as a pain reliever for musculoskeletal conditions; treatment of neurological disorders; dermatological conditions such as acne; and nausea due to the side effects of cancer medications.
Cupping is one of our most popular alternative therapies used today. The ancient art of cupping has been utilized by healers and families at home over many centuries. Cupping is a suction technique designed to pull stagnation from the body’s deeper tissue to the surface of the area being treated. New blood brings an abundance of nourishment and healing to the area of pain, muscle spasm, and toxic buildup.
Physical pain implies a blockage of blood flow & energy through a particular area. Utilizing cupping techniques enables the acupuncturist to create movement in an otherwise stagnant area. These creates relief in chronically tight, painful muscles.
In only a few minutes of cupping, not only can we pull toxins out of specific areas, keeping the skin youthful & glowing, but we can also pull fresh new blood into those areas, which will vitalize and restore health.
In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is soaked in alcohol, let, then placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, and when placed open side down, a vacuum is created, which anchors the cup to the skin and pulls the skin upward on the inside of the glass.
Drawing up the skin encourages the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body. We see local stagnation begins to clear.
Depending on the condition being treated, the cups are generally only left on the skin for short time periods (5-10 minutes), but may also be left for an extended time. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Cupping therapy that is more lengthy can result in local bruising, as seen on many professional athletes and celebrities. Albeit short term, this bruising indicates the toxins that are being filtered out of the body. Some practitioners will also apply small amounts of medicated oils or herbal oils to the skin just before the cupping procedure, which lets them move the cups up and down particular acupoints or meridians after they have been applied.
Cupping is a therapy that is especially useful in the treatment of problems of local qi, or blood stagnation in the channels, and is often performed as an adjunctive therapy or alternative to acupuncture.
Cupping is generally recommended for the treatment of pain, muscle tension, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion, arthritis, and paralysis, although it does have application for other problems.
Some practitioners also use cupping to treat depression and reduce swelling, aid in weight loss, and for anti-aging. The preferred sites for treatment are the fleshy sites on the body, such as the back and stomach (and, to a lesser extent, the arms and legs).
It is imperative that this method only be performed by licensed acupuncturists, and even when performed correctly, can result in marking (non permanent and intentional) and bruising.
What you put into your body plays a vital role in Chinese medicine. The use of medicinal herbs as food sources has been a mainstay in Asia for centuries. The foods we eat have a quality regarded by the Chinese as a specific energy or Qi, which is used by practitioners to advise patients on food choices that compliment their wellness goals. With the increased rate of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed, regarding “Food as Medicine” provides a sustainable and accessible solution for healthy, balanced living.
Gua sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edged instrument. Skin is typically lubricated with massage oil and commonly a ceramic Chinese soup spoon was used, or a well worn coin, even honed animal bones, water buffalo horn, or jade. A simple metal cap with a rounded edge is commonly used.
The smooth edge is placed against the oiled skin surface, pressed down firmly, and then moved down the muscles—hence the term tribo-effleurage (i.e., friction-stroking)—or along the pathway of the acupuncture meridians, along the surface of the skin, with each stroke being about 4–6 inches long.
Gua sha is a powerful process of detoxifying the tissues deep within the body by breaking up the weak blood capillaries to promote new blood circulation. It creates a strong sensation, causing an inflammation-like reaction, and even bruising in some cases. It achieves a similar goal as cupping, helping with recovery time from work-outs, cold and flu, and toxic lifestyle.
Moxibustion is a valuable method that warms specific acupuncture points or meridians along the body to induce a smooth flow of qi and blood. The process involves burning of mugwort, a soft, fluffy herb that has been known to disperse cold and alleviate pain.
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