Cupping is performed by quickly lighting a fire within a specialised (explosion-proof) glass cup. This creates a vacuum when the cup is placed on the body, sucking the skin upward. This is thought to create a 'negative pressure' and encourages blood circulation to the area, relaxing muscles and sedating the nervous system. In TCM, we often see muscular tension and 'knots' as stagnation of Qi and/or Blood, and cups are believed to relieve this by restoring flow to the area. Cupping often leaves markings or 'sha', that looks like a bruise, but does not feel painful (like a love-bite). These marks should resolve within a week as circulation increases in the problem region.
Gua sha is a traditional technique in which a special gua sha tool (pictured) is repeatedly run along an oiled muscle or area of concern, believed to move Qi and Blood and relieve inflammation. This therapy is quite similar to cupping, and also leaves the sha markings due to vigorous rubbing.
Moxibustion is the application of heat to acupuncture points or other regions of the body to stimulate and benefit the Qi at these areas. Dried mugwort (moxa) wool is compacted into a stick shape and burnt, producing a comfortable warmth. Moxibustion is often used for conditions that acupuncture and herbs cannot address completely, and is often used in combination with these to better their effects.
Chinese massage (Tui Na)
Chinese massage, referred to as Tui Na, is used in an attempt to relax the muscles, stimulate acupuncture points and circulate Qi and Blood through treatment areas. Tui Na is not offered as a stand-alone treatment, and is used to my discretion with acupuncture treatments.
Want to try out TCM for yourself?
Have any questions?