Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of Chinese medical care that dates back to 600 A.D. and aims to treat the ‘whole’ person. It includes the practice of Acupuncture, Cupping Therapy, Gua Sha, Tui Na Medical Massage, and External Herbal Application.
Acupuncture is the most common modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is accepted by the National Institute of Health for a wide variety of medical conditions, including neuromusculoskeletal problems, internal medicine, and mental health conditions. Acupuncture works by inserting very thin, sterilized needles into the body at specific points along the body’s meridians, or channels, to balance the nervous system and increase circulation making it easier for the body to heal itself without the use of medication.
Cupping Therapy is an ancient Chinese treatment, in which heated cups are applied to the skin, creating a vacuum seal to stimulate blood flow, relax tight muscles, remove stagnation, and promote healing. There is a variety of cupping therapy methods including wet, dry, needle, and moxa—each of which are used to treat specific conditions. Cupping Therapy works by using the heated cups to stimulate circulation and reduce inflammation while drawing impurities to the surface of the skin and removing toxins. Cupping loosens connective tissue and helps break up scarred or bound up tissue that can cause trigger points and areas of pain.
Gua Sha is a soft tissue manipulation used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves using a tool to help break up stagnation, which promotes blood circulation in order to relieve pain, tension, and to heal the body. Gua Sha works by using a tool, typically a Chinese soup spoon, to apply pressure in long strokes on the skin. Enough pressure is applied to create a red, bruised appearance, as the stagnant blood below the skin is raised to the surface. Gua Sha works great on larger muscle groups and most patients not only feel relief during the treatment but claim to have longer-lasting benefits than with a traditional deep tissue massage.
Tui Na (pronounced: twee-nah) is a form of Chinese medical massage that combines body movements and soft tissue manipulation for improved circulation and to realign musculoskeletal structures. Tui Na is thought to help stimulate the flow of vital energy (called “chi”) throughout the body. According to the principles of TCM, health problems occur when the flow of “chi” (vital energy) is blocked in the body at any point along a meridian. Tui Na is often used in conjunction with Acupuncture, Cupping Therapy, and External Herb Application.