Cupping + Gua Sha
Acupuncture can treat a variety of muscle related issues with cupping techniques, scraping (gua sha) on the body to bring blood flow to areas.
Cupping is an ancient Chinese Medicine practice that is widely used for the treatment of muscle and joint pain, injuries, stiffness and tension. It is also effective for relieving colds and fever, headaches, and can release emotional tension. Cupping has recently become popular due to the publicity it received at the 2016 Rio Olympics when prominent athletes like the swimmer Michael Phelps was seen with bright red circles on his back and shoulders as he was winning more gold medals. Cupping uses glass, plastic or wooden cups that are suctioned by heat or pumps to create a tight seal on the skin on the back. The technique may be a little uncomfortable but most patients report that it is not unpleasant. Some actually like the sensation! As acupuncturists we know where to apply the cups depending on the location of our patient’s pain or stiffness. The strong suction created by cupping draws out toxins and congestion in the muscles and soft tissue and stimulates the body to create new, fresh blood and lymph flow to these areas. Cupping will leave a slight welt and round red circles that may last a few days. Most patients report increased mobility and pain relief after having cups placed on their backs in conjunction with acupuncture.
Gua Sha - Scraping
Another traditional Chinese healing technique, “gua” means rubbing or scraping and “sha” means sand or grit. We apply a Chinese herbal liniment and use a special hand held plastic or bone instrument to vigorously rub over areas of pain and congestion. We use gua sha on many patients who suffer from chronic back, neck or joint pain to bring fresh blood and lymph supply to sore areas. In addition to local pain, gua sha is effective for menstrual pain, headaches, digestive problems, and anxiety. It can also be applied gently to the face as part of facial rejuvenation treatment. Gua sha can be temporarily uncomfortable and we only go as vigorously as our patients can tolerate. Some patients actually like to strong sensations! Gua sha will leave dark red scrape marks for up to 48 hours and then disappear. We are gratified when we see the excellent healing results patients get from gua sha in conjunction with acupuncture.