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Acupuncture treatment is rendered based on Chinese medical diagnoses, which includes assessment of pulse quality, shape and color of the tongue, medical history, and a whole body evaluation. Following the Chinese diagnosis, acupuncture needles are inserted into the body at specific points along acupuncture meridians, or pathways, which stimulates the body’s healing energy or Qi. Chinese medicine and acupuncture work to treat the whole patient and the root of a problem rather than using medication to mask a symptom and let the problem persist. One of the basic principles in acupuncture practice is to tailor each treatment to the patient’s exact needs at that time. Many people are surprised to find that acupuncture treatments are very relaxing – so much so that they even fall asleep during the session!
The ancient healing technique of Moxibustion, believed by some medical historians to pre-date even acupuncture, is approximately 3,000-years-old. It plays an important role in the Traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Moxibustion uses moxa or mugwort herb (artemisia vulgaris), applied directly or indirectly, in order to warm regions and acupuncture points. This combination of heat and herb stimulates circulation, encourages a smoother flow of blood and Qi, and protects against cold and dampness.
In Cupping Therapy, a cotton ball is soaked in alcohol and lit on fire, the fire is placed inside the glass cups and removed, and the cup is placed quickly on the skin. The fire acts to remove the air from inside the cup, causing suction: the cup sticks to the skin, and pulls a little on the skin. This suction acts to draw out what is called stagnant, or stuck, energy from inside the body and bring it to the surface where it can be released. It is used in areas such as the back, shoulders, and forearms when the muscles are very tight or there is aching pain. Patients find that it relaxes those areas. Cupping often leaves a circular bruise-like mark where the cup was. Depending on the person, these marks can last from a few days to a couple weeks.
Cupping Massage is an exciting modern adaptation to the ancient art of cupping. Instead of stationary cupping, the glass cups are moved along the muscles and meridians of the body. A Chinese herbal ointment is first applied to the skin to permit easier movement of the cups.
Tui Na (pronounced twee na) is a healing technique developed in China over 2,000 years ago. The Tui Na system incorporates methods similar to chiropractic, osteopathic and physical therapy in the form of massage, acupressure and bodywork. The session is done entirely with the practitioner’s hands to help increase the beneficial flow of Qi through the patients meridian system. Stretching and various hand techniques are used to restore and correct neuromuscular patterns and anatomical musculoskeletal relationships. Acupressure points may be selected to rebalance and harmonize the flow of Qi and blood through the organ meridians to encourage healing, eliminate biochemical irritants and prevent further injury.
What are the differences between Tui Na and regular massage?
Despite the similarities between Tui Na and traditional Swedish massage, Tui Na is not necessarily for those seeking a mild, relaxing massage. Tui Na is more focused and therapeutic than other types of bodywork.
Gua sha is typically performed by rubbing a smooth-edged instrument across the skin surface where a subcutaneous injury or imbalance resides. When treatment is effective, distinctive reddening of the skin, known as sha, is observed. This is a positive response and brings the immediate and lasting benefit of dispelling wind, reducing heat and inflammation, eliminating coldness, and releasing pain from the superficial and deeper levels of the body. Gua sha is used to treat many acute and chronic health problems including colds and flu, fever, headache, indigestion, dizziness, injury, joint pain, fibromyalgia and heat exhaustion. It is also commonly performed to relax tight and aching muscles and to relieve tiredness and fatigue. The stroking action of gua sha to the points and channels can also be practised as a health enhancement method, and can even be performed through light clothing (without the intention of raising sha).