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.
Sports & Remedial Massage Therapy
A Sports and Remedial massage is essentially deep tissue massage used to reduce tension & aches and pains picked up in daily life and sporting activities. A variety of addition massage techniques such as trigger point therapy, myofascial release & muscle energy techniques ( manual therapy stretching techniques ) can also be incorporated to alleviate more chronic issues and improve range of motion and movement.
The Dorn Method is a form of manual therapy using gentle pressure & movement that helps correct misalignments in the spinal column and other joints and I have found it to be most effective in helping to correct and relieve painful issues originating in the hips & lower back.
You could receive Dorn Therapy in a particular joint that might be causing you issues during a Sports & Remedial Massage. However, you can also receive a complete Dorn Session, straightening you out from head to toe.
Corrective Exercise & Stretching Protocols
Lets face it. A massage does a world of good on a number of levels, but regular exercise and stretching is often the long-term solution to a lot of our muscular skeletal aches and pains.
You may receive corrective exercises & stretching advice at the end of a massage, however, you can also make an appointment to exclusively receive a more complete & comprehensive exercise & stretching protocol to help you on your way to pain free movement in your day to day and your sport.
Kinesiolology can help identify different types of stress that may have disrupted the natural flow of energy in your body using muscle testing techniques. Kinesiology looks at physical, nutritional, emotional and energetical imbalances that may be the root cause or contributing to pain and it encompasses a wide range of techniques such as specialised lymphatic massage, acupressure, nutritional recommendations and dietary advice to help guide you back to optimum health.
You may get the opportunity of experiencing Kinesiology during a massage, if a particular muscular skeletal issues seems to have a deeper underlying cause. However, you can make an appointment exclusively for a Kinesiology session and receive either a complete balance that covers the whole body or specific areas such as the shoulders & neck or a knee & ankle.
As I am currently in the process of completing my training in Kinesiology, we would be grateful to receive donations of any amount to the Nepal Pain Relief charity in exchange for treatments received.
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