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Cupping / Moxibustion

Cupping is a technique that uses small glass cups placed on the skin to create suction, thereby gently drawing the skin upwards into the cup. The cup stays in place for a certain time or can be gently moved over the skin [moving cupping].

Reaching deep into the soft tissue, cupping moves stagnant blood and lymph, thereby releasing toxins and improving Qi flow. It is used, often in combination with acupuncture, to treat pain in muscles and connective tissues, such as neck, back and shoulder pain, muscle knots, and swelling. It is also used to treat respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis.

Archaeologists have found evidence of cupping in China dating back as far as 1000 B.C.

There are several cupping techniques. We most often use what is called Fire cupping.

A cotton ball, clamped by a pair of forceps is soaked in alcohol and lit with a lighter. The flaming cotton ball is then briefly held into the cup to heat it up and the cup is placed on the skin.

A small amount of suction is created when the air cools down. Massage oil may be applied to create a better seal as well as allow the cups to glide over the skin to massage muscles.

Dark circles appear where the cups were placed due to rupture of the capillaries just under the skin, but are not the same as a bruise caused by blunt-force trauma. Depending on the degree of blood stagnation the circles appear of lighter or darker color and usually disappear within several days.

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine treatment, using moxa, dried mugwort [Artemesia] to warm regions and meridian points with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and inducing a smoother flow of Blood and Qi.

Moxibustion is especially effective in treating chronic deficiency conditions [weakness] that causes Cold and Dampness in the body.  It is also used to turn breech babies.

There are various methods of moxibustion. In our clinic we use exclusively indirect moxa heat treatment, which does not burn the skin. The practitioner holds a cigar made of moxa near the acupuncture point to warm the skin or holds it on an acupuncture needle inserted in the skin to heat the needle.

“After 20 years since my first symptoms I finally sought acupuncture care. I cannot express with words how significant a change it has made not only physically but emotionally as well!  It has been a true blessing!  Within just two treatments I felt a very noticeable decrease of pain! After eight treatments the pain had decreased by 90%!  I am sleeping so well now I don’t even want to get out of bed in the mornings!  I can once again sit and walk without pain!  I am SO looking forward to my continued care under the experienced hands of my acupuncturist Jumbé Allen!”

Blance J.


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