Traditional Chinese Medicine Understanding:
Our bodies are in constant communication with us, and even the smallest emotional or physical symptoms are often all connected under the surface. By knowing what to look for, Traditional Medicines treat the root causes as well as the symptoms, and can reverse or at least improve most chronic health conditions. By treating the ecosystem of our beings, true health, not just the absence of disease, naturally blossoms…The ancient Chinese believed that the same forces that exist outside of us, move within us as well. Common weather energies such as heat, cold, moisture, dryness, and wind, also have parallel symptoms within us. Even today we are all familiar with the term ‘inflammation’, symptoms that mirror the activity of ‘fire’. The ancient Chinese simply extended these observations much further, encompassing every aspect of our organism, guided by the patterns of nature.
Within the body, these natural energies are produced, balanced and correspond to the internal organs (Zangfu). The organ energies flow outward, while the external counterparts were believed to flow in from our surrounding environments. The acupuncture ‘channels’ (river-like flows of these natural energies known as ‘Qi‘), metabolize and balance the energy from our outer world, while the organs are the inner source of these same elements. Both must be balanced in harmony for health to blossom. By inserting needles into the skin we can remove blockages or stimulate more flow in these energies of function, like removing debris from a river or opening a flood gate… ensuring that we remain in harmony and in balance with the world around us.
Cupping is a treatment that is used for tight, spasmed, tired, sore and/or over worked muscles. Cupping works using negative pressure or suction to gently adhere cup shaped tools to tight muscle areas on the body. The suction relaxes muscles, increases blood circulation and lymph flow. The suction also produces a variety of shades of reddish-purple marks. These marks come from the blood and toxins located in the over-worked muscles coming to the skin surface from the space created by the suction so that the body can more easily clear and heal the sore area.
Gua sha is a therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve circulation, and reduce inflammation and promote healing. It involves scraping the skin with short or long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. I use a smooth-edged instrument known as a gua massage tool. I apply massage oil to the skin, and then uses the tool to repeatedly scrape the skin in a downward motion.
Gua sha is generally performed on the back, buttocks, neck, arms, and legs. A gentle version of it is even used on the face as a facial technique called facial rejuvenation.