Moxibustion, Cupping and Gua Sha

 

Moxibustion, Cupping and Gua Sha are adjunctive therapies to Acupuncture. The term Moxibustion (Moxa) is derived from the Japanese phrase “Moe Kusa”, meaning “burning herb.” It refers to the application of the Chinese herb Ai Ye (Artemesia Vulgaris or Chinese Mugwort) which is part of the chrysanthemum family, to specific areas of the body for the purpose of treating disharmony.

There are two different types of Moxibustion: direct and indirect. Direct Moxibustion achieves clinical effectiveness through its cauterization (burning) effect and its deep penetrating heat.

We use only indirect methods of Moxa. Never is the Moxa left to burn directly on the skin. We find that the warm sensation generated from indirect Moxa is both safe and effective, and leaves the patient with a pleasant therapeutic experience. More than simply the application of heat, the warming effects of indirect Moxa enhances the proper flow of Qi and blood, balances the internal organs, and increases mobility of muscles and joints.

Cupping involves the application of suction through the use of glass, plastic or bamboo cups to specific Acupuncture points on the body. Cupping stimulates the site of application by producing localized blood congestion. Its uses include treatment for back pain, sprains, soft tissue injuries and pain associated with menstruation. Both Moxibustion and Cupping can be used alone or in conjunction with Acupuncture.

Cupping is a simple and safe procedure. On occasion some patients experience mild bruising which generally dissipates within a few days. The Cupping procedure is painless and feels similar to a medium-light to deep massage depending on the amount of suction applied by the Acupuncturist. Because of the potential for possible bruising, we always advise the patient of this possibility and only apply cups to discrete areas that are generally covered by clothing.

Gua Sha involves stimulation or “scraping” of the skin using a round-edged instrument. Oil is generally applied to the skin prior to the treatment which results in the appearance of small red petechiae called “sha”. The sha generally dissipates within three days to one week.

The purpose of raising sha to the skin surface is to remove blood and Qi stagnation which is considered pathogenic. The process promotes normal circulation and metabolic processes of the body. Gua Sha can provide immediate pain relief from conditions such as muscle stiffness, fever, chills, cough, nausea and other symptoms. It is a valuable tool in the prevention and treatment of acute illness such as respiratory and digestive disorders as well as chronic disorders such as back pain and chronic fatigue syndrome.