Moxibustion is the ancient method of burning moxa, a dried herb derived from mugwort leaves, on or near the skin to facilitate healing. When the moxa is burned directly on the skin, it is considered direct moxa. This technique is used less frequently because of the risk of burning the skin. Indirect moxa consists of lighting a cigar-like moxa stick and then holding it near the skin, often near the acupuncture needles.
Moxibustion is effective at increasing blood flow to areas of injury and warm areas where cold accumulates. This treatment may be used as an adjunct to acupuncture treatment when appropriate, and is used to treat a variety of ailments, including muscle aches and pains as well as menstrual cramps.
Cupping is one of the oldest TCM treatment modality involves the use of glass or plastic cups to create a vacuum seal on the skin. This technique is used to increase circulation to the underlying tissues, disperse swellings, release muscle tension, reduce fever and activate the lymphatic system.
Cupping can often leave bruise-like marks that may last for a few days after the treatment.
Gua Sha is an East Asian healing technique that intentionally raises Sha rash for healing purposes. Gua Sha literally means 'to scrape away fever' in Chinese, more loosely, 'to scrape away disease by allowing the disease to escape as sandy-looking objects through the skin'. Gua means to scrape or rub, and Sha means a 'reddish, elevated, millet-like skin rash (aka petechiae)'.
Gua Sha improves Qi and blood circulation, opens the skin pores to release the exterior mimicking sweating, and moves fluids containing metabolic waste that has been congested the surface tissues and muscles. Therefore, Gua Sha is often used for pain, aching, tenderness and/or tightness of the muscles associated with acute or chronic disorders. Although Gua Sha can be applied on any parts of the body, including the back, neck, shoulders, buttocks, limbs, chest, and abdomen, it is particularly helpful in treating neck and shoulder conditions. Gua Sha is also used to treat and prevent the common cold, flu, bronchitis, and asthma.
Gua Sha involves scraping (gua) across the skin with an instrument in order to bring up raised, red marks (sha). The area being worked is lubricated with oil and the skin is rubbed with a round-edged instrument in a downward motion.
The instruments used in this technique are made from a variety of materials, from the more traditional buffalo horn to the more modern porcelain or metal. At NOLA Acupuncture Wellness Center, we use soupspoons.
The area is stroked until Sha is completely raised. Sha is the term used to describe blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue before and after it is raised as skin rash. The color of Sha has both diagnostic and prognostic value. The darker Sha, the deeper and older blood stasis: the skin will only turn pink and Sha will not be formed if there is no blood stasis; if the blood stasis is recent and superficial, Sha is fresh red; if the blood stasis is deeper and long-standing, the color of Sha will be dark red, purple, or even black. The discoloration of the skin from Sha should fade in a few days (2-4 days).
Gua Sha is a completely safe technique, but we recommend moderate activity or even rest after treatment. We also suggest that patients retrain from drugs, alcohol, sex, fasting, feasting or hard labor, including working out, for the rest of the day. It is also important to cover the area for couple days in order to prevent external pathogens from penetrating into the open skin pores.
Tui Na is a hands-on bodywork technique involves brushing, kneading, rolling / pressing and rubbing the areas between each of the joints to relax the patient as well as to correct physical issues. Tui Na aims to release tension, increase blood flow, stimulate the release of toxins and encourage muscle repair in the affected area.
It is often used to treat musculoskeletal conditions and stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems.