Moxibustion is the process of burning dried herbs over specific areas or points of the body. The herb commonly used is called Mugwort. It has strong warming qualities and when it is burned over the body it warms the Qi and blood and unblocks channels. This is very useful for conditions such as menstrual pain due to cold in the uterus or to relieve arthritic pain that is worse with cold. Mugwort has a very strong odor when it is burned and tends to be smoky. Some people think it smells similar to marijuana, but it isn’t.
Cupping is the method used to pull “pathogens” from the skin and muscle layers. A cotton ball lit with fire is twirled inside of a glass cup. The fire is quickly taken away and the cup is placed on the skin. This causes a suction to occur and the skin and some muscle tissue is sucked into the lower part of the glass cup. Often there is oil on the skin and the cups are slid around specific areas in order to release heat, cold or blockages in that area of the body. It is painless but sometimes bruising may appear because the blood vessels in that area are brought to the surface. If a cup sits in one spot too long then a dark bruise will appear in the shape of the cup opening. Again this is not painful but it does not usually look good. My style is to use mild suction and slide gently over the area that results in very minimal bruising. The benefits can be great in releasing pain and muscle tension, relieving fever or aches associated with the onset of a cold.
Electro Stimulation (E-Stim)
Electro stimulation is used to enhance the treatment of the acupuncture needles. A micro current is run through the needles by attaching the source with alligator clips to the needles. The sensation felt is a mild tapping where the needle is inserted.
Gua Sha is a scrapping technique used to release tension or pathogens. A rounded edge spoon or horn or tool is used to “scrape” the top of the skin to promote circulation of Qi and blood. Often the area will become bright red as blood is brought to the surface and heat released. This technique helps release muscles that are very tight, it releases toxins from the body at the early onset of a cold or flu and it aids in the flow of the meridians that are selected.
I often add some Tui Na or shiatsu techniques to a treatment. This is hands on “message” with certain techniques to enhance the flow of Qi and blood and help open the meridian channels. All work is done with clothes on or a sheet over the skin.