Acupuncture and Other Ancient Healing Techniques
Acupuncture is a tried and tested form of complementary medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the network of energy channels throughout the body. It is one of the key components of a whole system of tradition Chinese medicine. This system also includes Chinese herbal medicine along with additional therapies such as Tui Na massage, cupping, moxibustion, Gua Sha and dietary/lifestyle advice.
Traditionally, acupuncture is used to treat illness, and maintain people’s health and wellbeing. It treats the person holistically rather than focuses on the symptoms. Therefore, the treatment plan would be considered to suit the individual.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years; in fact, the actual Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means "acupuncture-moxibustion." The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health.
Cupping is a therapy used to remove stagnation and to stimulate the flow of vital energy which circulates through our body. It involves warming and placing glass cups on the skin. By warming the air within the cup, a vacuum is created. When it is applied to the skin, the tissue is drawn up into the cup. Cupping increases the blood flow, loosens the fascia or connective tissue so it is thought to stimulate healing.
Gua Sha is a therapy that involves scraping the skin with a smooth-edged instrument to improve the circulation. In Gua Sha, massage oil is applied to the skin. The Gua Sha tool is used to scrape the skin repeatedly in a downward motion. This therapy is intended to address stagnant energy in the body that is believed to be responsible for inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
Tui Na (Pushing and Grasping), along with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, are the main component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. As such, Tui Na can be used to treat specific areas, or it can be used to improve the overall Qi or energy flow throughout the body.