Dating back to over 3000 years ago, the system of Chinese Medicine encompasses many different modalities to bring the body back into balance, including massage, acupuncture, herbs, and movement. These modes of treatment are used to alleviate a wide range of symptoms. Some symptoms that I commonly treat with massage therapy are: joint pain, muscle pain and tension, digestive issues, insomnia and fatigue, depression and anxiety, headaches/migraines, frequent colds/flu, menstrual irregularities or pain, and infertility.
Depending on what I discover in the patient by listening to their story, and feeling their pulse and abdomen, I decide which modes of treatment would be most beneficial. Here are some of the modes of treatment that I use.
Amma Massage. In Amma massage, I work down specific energy meridians throughout your body. Most of the channels connect to an organ, which is why Abdominal palpation is so important for diagnosis and treatment in Amma massage. This style of massage is done on a massage table, and oils are only sometimes used for therapeutic purposes. By using tissue manipulation, vibration, and acupressure techniques, Amma massage is great for stimulating the body’s circulatory systems, and promoting healing to the body’s tissues.
Moxibustion. Moxibustion, or ‘moxa’, is the burning of mugwort (a medicinal herb of many uses) over the skin, or directly on the skin. Using correct technique, moxa does not cause burns. The heat from burning mugwort penetrates deep into the body. This heat brings qi (energy) into the body from the outside, which then draws fresh blood to that area to speed up healing of tissues, or to break up blood stagnation or clotting. Moxa can be used to remedy many different symptoms depending on how and where on the body it is used. Two interesting uses: Moxa is very successful at raising white blood cell count and turning a breech baby.
Fire Cupping. Fire cupping is an ancient form of treatment most commonly used to break up adhesions and scar tissue, and to release tense muscles. In fire cupping, glass cups are suctioned onto your skin, causing blood to rush to the area. To create the suction, an alcohol swab lit on fire and held with forceps, is briefly held inside the cup exhausting all the oxygen. The flame is removed and the cup is quickly put onto the skin to create the suction. Fire cupping can also be used to treat mucous in the chest, allergies, cysts and fibroids.
Gua Sha. Th direct chinese translation of Gua Sha is “Scrape Evil”. In Gua Sha, various-shaped scraping tools are used to “scrape” the skin. By repeatedly scraping the skin, stagnant qi and blood towards the surface of the body is moved and scar tissue and adhesions are broken up. When done on the upper back, this is a very effective technique for lessening the duration of a cold or flu, and releasing the exterior to break a fever. Gua sha helps to release toxins, and although it is painless, it may cause temporary bruising depending on the amount of toxins being released.