The theory of acupuncture is based on the theory that all systems, our bodies included, rely on a dynamic balance between opposite yet complimentary forces. In a healthy body, energy (referred to as qi) is balanced and flows smoothly through specific pathways referred to as meridians. The qi that flows in meridian continues on into the organ systems. When there is an imbalance along one of the meridians or within an organ system, symptoms of disease or pain develops. The goal of acupuncture therapy is to restore the proper flow of qi through the body, thereby restoring health.
Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of hair-thin needles along specific points on the meridian in order to restore proper qi flow, allowing for optimal health and well-being.
Moxibustion, most commonly referred to as "moxa" refers to the process of warming acupuncture points by burning the herb, artemesia (mugwort) over them. Often, this is done indirectly by holding a "moxa pole" over the meridian or acupunture point. The purpose of this treatment is to expel cold and increase the flow of qi and blood to the area. In some studies, moxibustion has been shown to initiate an immune response and is therefore used to prevent or shorten the duration of colds and flus. Other studies have suggested that moxa may encourage healthy blood counts for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Cupping is an adjunct therapy used often in Traditional Chinese Medicine to relieve surface tension and increase the flow of blood, lymph and qi in the muscle tissue. In cupping, a vacuum is created between the skin and a glass cup. Cupping is an incredibly useful tool to relieve pain and tension in stiff muscles. The process almost always leaves a slightly reddened to darkly colored area where the cups have been. Depending on the depth of stagnation in the muscle tissue, this coloration may take 3-7 days to fade completely.
Gua is translated from Chinese as "to rub" or "friction". Sha is a term used to describe congestion of blood as the surface of the body. When using the gua sha technique, your practitioner uses a tool to repetitively rub the surface of the skin where there is stagnation so that the sha rises to the surface of the skin. Gua sha moves stuck blood and promotes circulation to the tissues. Often, gua sha produces immediate results, allowing better movement and reduced pain in stiff muscles.