Cupping is a traditional folk remedy that has been found in various form in many different countries for centuries. It is believed to affect the tissues up to 4 inches deep from the external skin. The suction and negative pressure can help loosen the muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system. Cupping assists with the release of toxins and can clear blockages, allowing blood circulation to improve in the areas affected.

How does it work?  Cupping is a technique used alone or in conjunction with acupuncture.  The suction provided allows the skin and muscles to separate slightly allowing cellular waste products to be drawn towards the surface of the skin. Doing so will allow knots and tension to be released. Injuries and sore muscles can heal due to the pathogenic factors being drawn out of the muscles and into the skin, where it can be expelled from the body easily. If there has been an injury or stagnation present within the muscle for a long time, some red or purple blotches may appear. This provides evidence that the stagnation and pathogens are being released. These marks are painless and may take a few days to dissipate.

Cupping is generally painless and may be as or more effective than massage for releasing muscular tension.

Glass Cupping:  Heat is used to create a partial vacuum inside the glass cup.  The cup is then applied to the skin and, as the air cools inside the cup, the suction created draws the skin up into the cup.

Plastic Cupping:  The cup is placed on the skin and a suctioning device is used to remove the air from inside the cup.  This creates a vacuum and pulls the skin up inside the cup.

Stationary Cupping: A number of glass cups are placed on the body over specific acupuncture points. Sometimes single cups are applied to smaller areas or on specific areas of tenderness. Cups are left in place without movement for 5-15 minutes. This treatment will leave dark purplish, circular marks that look like bruises on the skin.  This is normal and the marks will fade away in about one week.

Moving Cupping: Oil or another lubricant is applied to the skin and rim of the glass cup.  The cup is then moved over larger, flat body surfaces like the back or thigh.  The cup is moved back and forth over the skin surface for 5–15 minutes.  Moving cupping causes some redness but generally does not leave any dark purple marks.

Flash Cupping: The glass cup is alternatively placed, lifted and replaced on the skin in rapid succession.  This produces many small suctions and the procedure is continued until the skin under the cupping area is reddened.

General Indications

• Back, neck and other musculoskeletal pain; improving circulation
• Upper respiratory disorders such as common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis, opens the chest and benefits the lungs
• Facial numbness following stroke or Bell’s Palsy (Flash Cupping)
• Painful menstruation

Gua Sha is an Asian healing technique utilized by practitioners of Traditional Medicine both in the clinic and at home.  Gua means “scraping” and “sha” is the pink or red pigmentation that appears.  Gua Sha involves scraping lubricated skin in pressured strokes with a round-edged tool to produce the “sha”.  The sha generally disappears completely in two or three days.  The procedure is not painful.

Gua Sha is mainly used on back, neck, shoulders, limbs and buttocks, but can occasionally done on the chest and abdomen.  This technique is used to eliminate blood stagnation and promotes normal circulation and metabolic processes.  Patients may experience immediate relief from pain, stiffness or other discomforts after gua sha.

General Indications

• Musculoskeletal pain and stiffness
• Common cold, bronchitis, asthma
• Nausea
• Disorders involving stagnation of Qi (energy) and blood

Moxibustion is a technique used to expel cold and warm the meridians, strengthen the blood and stimulate the flow of Qi. It is useful in the treatment of disease and for maintenance of health. This method consists with the burning an herb, called mugwort, over particular points on the body. The skin will generally feel warm to the touch afterward.

Moxibustion and Pregnancy: In 1998, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that as many as 75% of women with breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion at a specific acupuncture point on the foot. Another study in 2012, using the same technique, revealed moxibustion used in conjunction with acupuncture decreased the risk for breech births by 27%.

General Indications

• Asthma
• Rheumatic pain
• Diarrhea
• Arthritis
• Vomiting or abdominal pain
• Certain gynecological disorders; breech presentation in pregnancy