Use of traditional cups has been multi-cultural with Traditional Chinese Medicine cupping dating back 3000 years. A flame is used to create a vacuum and the cup is placed on the area to be treated, the suction from the cup draws up the skin. Cups can be left in one place or moved over an area. It is a very effective treatment to move Qi and Blood in the muscles, joints and channels helping to alleviate pain and stagnation. Cupping can also be used to expel ‘pathogenic factors’ so is a particularly good treatment when someone is coming down with a cold as it helps stop the cold penetrating further into the body.
Guasha is an ancient Chinese therapy where a smooth edged tool, commonly made of buffalo horn or jade, is scraped over the skin to increase Qi and Blood flow. It encourages the release of toxins from the skin. It is commonly used in the neck and shoulder area to relieve muscle tension and down the thigh area for relief of sciatic pain.
Moxa is prepared from the leaves of a plant similar to mugwort. It is ground up to a ‘fluff’ and then burnt. It can either be used directly on the skin to warm acupuncture points before needling or to warm a larger area using a moxa stick. The intention is that moxa stimulates circulation through points inducing a smoother flow of Qi and Blood.
Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small current is passed between two needles. Electroacupuncture aims to stimulate the body’s healing processes by sending electrical impulses through the channels, muscles and nerves. Electrical stimulation is most commonly associated with pain management as it promotes the release of endogenous neurotransmitters such as beta-endorphin, a natural analgesic. Additionally electroacupuncture can be effective for treating rheumatic and arthritic conditions, channel stagnation and musculoskeletal trauma.