Chinese medicine is a holistic medical practice with a history of over 4000 years. Chinese medicine includes numerous therapies and practices to achieve balance and treat disease, some of these include Taichi, Qigong breathing exercises, Kungfu, massage, Acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicines.
Diagnostic methods and language in Chinese medicine are quite different from Western medicine. To diagnose a patient the practitioner will look at the pulse, tongue, complexion, voice, smell and enquire about all aspects of the physical and emotional life. In China, Chinese medicine is used in conjunction with Western medicine and as part of everyday life.
Acupuncture is the practice of using channels of energy or electromagnetic fields that run throughout the human body to adjust the functioning of organs and tissues. Using very thin needles, or metallic sticks if you’re too scared, acupuncturists direct the energy through electrically charged fascia, or sheaths of tissue that make up the whole body. The fascia conduct electromagnetic energy around the body so that the acupuncturist can communicate with, for example, the liver by needling a point on the foot. For a more detailed analysis of the scientific evidence of these channels of electromagnetic energy and their energetic properties, please see the work of Dr Wae Wanho at the Institute of Science in Society.
The needles are sterile, one time use and one-fiftieth the diameter of regular injection needles. After diagnosis between one and fifteen needles are inserted into acupuncture points of which there are more than 600.
The needles are left for approximately 21 minutes but in some cases are retained for 5 minutes in the back points or 45 minutes for lipid movement (stubborn fat reduction). Depending on the strength of internal energy and acuteness of pathogens, the needles may be gently manipulated while in position, particularly when there is long-term tension; this involves heating or turning the needles to stimulate a relaxation of the muscles or a low level aching sensation, both of which enhance the body’s own immune response.
Moxabustion (Heat Therapy)
Moxabustion is an ancient form of medicine that involves applying heat generated from mugwort to areas of the body. Evidence shows that many chronic conditions are caused by the invasion of cold coupled with a lack of movement. Over generations of practitioners other uses of moxabustion were noted and developed and it now constitutes a comprehensive medical system in its own right.
The majority of moxa used is mugwort that burns in the same way as an incense stick; slowly smouldering and generating intense heat. Most of those using moxa are also practicing Acupuncture in combination to treat an array of chronic and acute conditions, such as diabetes, pain, fractures and constipation.
Lose mugwort herb can be bunched together and stuck to the end of a needle (already in the body), when lit it passes heat directly into the acupuncture point, into the body’s interior. This gives the patient a sense of comforting warmth while also enhancing the immune system stimulation.
Moxa also comes in sticks, either smoking or smokeless. The Japanese smokeless moxa sticks are often used in clinics or home, and can be bought online.
Cupping uses the power of a vacuum created in a glass cup to shift deep-rooted tissue level stagnation. This stagnation can come in the form of knots of muscle fibres that over time can calcify; collections of old immune system cells and inflammatory debris around the joints; enlarged lipid, fat cells around the thighs, abdomen and buttocks and emotional stagnation held throughout the body and in postural alignments.
The cups are applied, pulling the skin into the vacuum and dredging the stagnation. The application involves the lighting of a cotton ball in surgical scissors and burning it in the cup for no more than a second before swiftly removing it and applying the cup to the body. The cup will leave a pinkish or purplish mark for between a few minutes and a week. The practitioner will pay attention to the colour, depth and longevity of the marks to make assessment of the severity and longevity of the stagnation.
Cupping has great efficacy, often enabling the patient to achieve in one session what would take three or four massages. After a cupping session the patient will experience better movements, loser muscles and enhanced flow of energy. It’s important to wrap up warm and drink plenty of water after cupping. On occasion the cupped area can be slightly sore, this is nothing to worry about.
Tuina Chinese Medical Massage
Tuina massage, sometimes referred to as Acupressure massage, is part of the Chinese medical manual therapies and has been used in health care in Asia continuously for over 4000 years, and is well documented. It uses numerous techniques of the hand, elbow and wrist to supplement, sedate, move or manipulate the channels and organs of the body.
During a Tuina massage the practitioner will often massage specific acupuncture points in the same way needles are used. The practitioner may move along the meridians conducting clearing of the channels, which clears stagnation in preparation for needling.
Often points of particular tenderness are located and worked on continuously to break long-standing knots; this can be painful and the patient is asked to breathe and consciously relax the area.
Tuina massage has many similarities to Nuad Thai, lymphatic drainage and Swedish massage.
Guasha is another ancient form of treatment used for a broad array of conditions. The method uses the edge of a piece of bone, tortoise shell, pottery or ceramic spoon or indeed anything that comes to hand, to scrape along the surface of the skin following the electromagnetic channels; after some time leaving reddish marks as the blood comes to the surface.
Some of the most common conditions treated with Guashu are acute fever, vomiting, parasitic or bacterial invasion with a strong constitution, liver and lung function problems and diabetes. It is often used to treat children with fever as it boosts immune system functioning and develops strong lifetime patterns.
“Just for today, I will not worry, I will not be angry, I will be grateful, I will do my work honestly, I will be kind to every living thing and count my blessings”
Reiki is a therapy of palm healing or hands-on -body healing in which a practitioner places hands over the patient’s body to facilitate the process of healing.
Reiki combines the Japanese and Chinese word-characters of REI (spirituality) and KI (vital energy). This vital energy can be channelled to support the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Reiki is a very simple process but usually produces quite profound effects. The main purpose of a Reiki treatment is not only to support the physical body but also to promote a positive mind so you can experience more joy in life. The great thing about Reiki is that one does not have to be ‘ill’ to experience the benefits.
- Promotes harmony and balance
- Creates deep relaxation and helps the body release stress and tension
- Dissolves energy blocks, promotes natural balance between mind, body and spirit
- Assists the body in cleansing itself from toxins and supports the immune system
- Clears the mind and improve focus as you feel grounded and centred
- Aids better sleep
- Accelerates the body’s self-healing ability as you start to return to your natural state
- Helps relieve pain and support the physical body healing
- Helps spiritual growth and emotional cleansing
- Compliments medical treatment or other therapies such as acupuncture