C u p p i n g a n d M o x i b u s t i o n
Cupping 1 hour treatment $65.00
Cupping is a technique that is especially useful in the treatment of problems of local chi, or blood stagnation in the channels. It can also be very helpful in expelling the external pathogenic factor of wind cold that can invade the lungs.
Cupping is an ancient technique that is still used by modern practitioners. This form of treatment is usually performed as an alternative to acupuncture: the cups are placed over acupuncture points but they treat a larger area of the body.
Cups are either of robust, rounded glass construction or of bamboo. Other materials have been used, but practitioners in the West tend to use glass. In this technique, a burning taper is held for a very short period of time inside the cup, before the cup is immediately placed down over the selected area. Because the taper flame exhausts all the oxygen in the cup, a vacuum is created; this anchors the cup to the skin and draws up the skin beneath the cup. The effect of this is to encourage the flow of chi and blood in the area beneath the cup. By this means, local stagnation begins to clear.
The strength of the vacuum depends on the amount of oxygen burned in the cup and on the skill of the practitioner in quickly placing the cup in the appropriate position. In some instances the cup is retained in the same position for a considerable time, while in others it is removed quickly and placed elsewhere on the body.
For example, when cupping is used to expel wind cold from the lungs, several cups may be placed over the lung area of the back, and regularly removed and replaced until the whole area to be treated has been thoroughly covered.
In “moving cupping”, an area of the body is lightly smeared with oil or soap and the applied cup is drawn around with the vacuum in tact, thus encouraging a more generalized movement of chi and blood in the area.
Cupping draws blood to the external capillaries of the body, and as a result minor weals or bruises may be left after the treatment. If the cups are retained in one spot for any length of time, the marking may be quite considerable. If a practitioner is using cupping, this possible consequence of treatment should be explained to the patient.
Moxibustion is the process whereby moxa-a dried herb, usually the species mugwort (artemisia vulgaris)-is burned, either directly on the skin or indirectly above the skin, over specific acupuncture points.
The mugwort is harvested in the early part of summer, and the leaves are dried and allowed to age. It is then crushed and subjected to varying degrees of sifting. The highest grade moxa almost exclusively consists of the fluffy underside of the leaf. This moxa is considered the most appropriate for direct application to the skin. The less refined moxa contains a mixture of the fluffy underbelly of the leaf and parts of the leaf body. This lower grade moxa tends to be used for indirect application.
When lit, moxa burns slowly and provides a penetrating heat that can enter the channels to influence the chi and blood flow. Moxa burns with a characteristic musky odour and can give off a fairly copious amount of smoke, depending on the grade. Some patients may find the smell and smoke a bit difficult to tolerate, and the odour tends to be retained in the hair and clothing long after the treatment session.
A very common form of indirect moxibustion uses moxa sticks (as shown left), a bit like large cigars or incense sticks. These are lit and held about an inch(2.5cm)above the point or area to be treated. They are usually turned in a rotational manner, or “pecked” toward and away from the skin. Using this technique, treatment can be applied for anything between a few minutes and a quarter of an hour. Care has to be exercised in order to ensure that the burning moxa stick does not touch the skin.
from The complete illustrated guide to Chinese Medicine by Tom Williams Ph.D)
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