Acupuncture is one of the most well-known branches of
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been scientifically proven to induce healing, alleviate pain and anxiety, release stress, promote sleep and many more.
It involves the insertion of very fine, sterile needles at specific locations on the body. These “points” usually lay on the pathways (“meridians”) where your qi (ife-force/energy) is in continuous circulation.
Every acupuncture point has specific effects which is why an appropriate point combination and needle techniques may result in therapeutic effects. In TCM these are understood as nourishment of organs, bodily functions; removal of excessive pathological factors and promotion of the free movement of qi throughout the body.
What to expect
After you lied down you may be asked to take a few deep breaths in and out.
The needles would be inserted following your breath.
The insertion is very quick and painless. Following insertion the needles may be manipulated in order to achieve ‘deqi’ sensation which is often felt as warmness, tingling, dull ache, etc. This is a sensation subject to you which indicates that the acupuncture point has been “activated”.
The needles may be retained for 15 to 30 minutes, which are then removed by using sterile cotton wool.
This therapy may involve additional treatment methods such as acupressure, toyohari, electro-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture.
Moxibustion is the brother of acupuncture. In the chinese character of ‘acupuncture’ (针灸), the second kanji actually means moxibustion.
Moxa (in short) is a spongy “wooly” herb which has been produced from the mugwort plant (artemisia vulgaris or artemisia argyii).
It is mostly used by either directly burning it on the skin or using the “cigar” version of the same herb pressed into a charcoal wand. It may also be used on top of needles -in order to enhance their therapeutic effect.
In general mugwort has warming, moving and nourishing energetics. Therefore, moxa is generally used as a yang-er counterpart of acupuncture.
What ot expect
Moxa is usually applied in conjunction with acupuncture. In case of direct moxibustion, a thin layer of oil is applied onto the skin. Small cones of moxa are placed on the skin then lighted using an incense stick. They are extinguished/removed before they would reach the skin.
It may feel nicely warm and “moving”. The herb has a pleasant smell, however it may leave a scent on your clothes, please be aware.
Moxa is excellent in aiding recovery by (locally) enhancing the blood circulation. It may also be used to boost your immune system or daily energy levels.
Tuina is one of the main branches of TCM. It is a type of medical massage which is widely practiced in hospitals in China.
It involves gentler (yin) and more energetic (yang) manipulations of the body. It is a fantastic healing art which addresses both the internal – state of mind and organs – and
external – muscles, tendons, fascia.
Thus it both addresses the channel pathways and acupuncture points as well as the musculoskeletal aspects of the body.
What ot expect
Before Tuina treatment you would be asked to wear loose clothing, as most techniques have been designed to work through apparel.
You may be either lying down or sitting up, while different – kneading, pressing, rubbing, sweeping – techniques are being applied.
Opposed to deep tissue massage the aim here is to relax and restore harmony to the body, thus you would not experience unnecessary pain during the treatment.
Cupping and Guasha
A famous doctor of Chinese Medicine (Zhu Danxie) said that stagnation of qi and blood could generate all disorders.
Cupping and guasha are excellent tools for moving local stagnation, as well as clearing excess – manifesting as fever, flu, or muscle stiffness.
Cupping involves small glass cups, which are briefly exposed to fire in order to create suction in the cups which are then placed onto the skin.
Guasha involves a smooth-edged instrument (usually made of jade) which are used to gently scrape your skin until “sha” i.e. sand like spots appear.
What ot expect
Although both Cupping and Gusha may leave a mark – the former results in small purplish circles, while the latter creates small red spots which resembles sand- both should resolve within a few days (or up to two weeks).
In most instances massage oils are applied, therefore these treatments do not incur any pain.
Both therapies are based around the same principles. They bring qi to the surface to increases blood circulation which is why they are excellent at treating painful conditions such as muscle tension and sciatica.
They are often used on the areas of the back and neck to treat ‘internal’ conditions which may manifest in fever, common cold, acne or even chest infection.