DSC_0696CUPPING: or fire cupping is a form of traditional medicine found in several cultures. It involves placing glass, plastic, or bamboo cups on the skin by creating a heat vaccuum. It is used to relieve what is called “stagnation” in TCM terms, and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Cupping is also used to treat back, neck, shoulder, and other musculoskeletal pain. The same redness or bruising as seen with Gua Sha may occur.

DANTIEN: or Dantian, or Tan t’ien (literally means “cinnabar or red field” and is loosely translated as “elixir field”. It is described as an important focal point for internal meditative techniques and refers specifically to the physical center of gravity located in the abdomen three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel. Qi Gong practitioners often refer to the Dan Tien as the “sea of Qi”.

GUA SHA: involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. Commonly a ceramic Chinese soup spoon was used, or a well worn coin, water buffalo horn, or jade. This causes extravasation of blood from the peripheral capillaries and may result in sub-cutaneous blemishing, which usually takes 2-4 days to fade. The color of sha rash varies according to the severity of the patient’s blood stasis — which may correlate with the nature, severity and type of their disorder –appearing from a dark blue-black to a light pink, but is most often a shade of red. Despite appearances, marks on the skin look painful, but are not. Patients typically feel immediate change and sense of relief.

MOXIBUSTION: is an OM therapy utilizing moxa, or mugwort herb. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a (non-smokable) cigar. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or sometimes burn it on a patient’s skin.

QI: (or Chi, Ki) energy flow, an active component of any living thing

QI GONG: (Chi Kung) refers to a wide variety of traditional cultivation practices that involve methods of accumulating, circulating, and working with Qi, breathing or strengthening energy within the body. Qi gong is practiced for health maintenance purposes, as a therapeutic intervention, as a medical profession, a spiritual path and/or component of internal martial arts.

SHIATSU: (Japanese from shi, meaning finger, and atsu, meaning pressure) is a traditional hands-on therapy originating in Japan. Pressure is applied with fingers and palms to particular sections on the surface of the body for the purpose of correcting the imbalances of the body, and for maintaining and promoting health. It is also a method contributing to the healing of specific illnesses.

TAI CHI CHUAN: is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for its many health benefits. A multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims. Some of Tai Chi Chuan’s training forms are well known to Westerners as the slow motion routines that groups of people practice together every morning in parks around the world, particularly in China.

TUI NA: “push-grasp” or “poke-pinch” in Chinese. Physically, it is a series of pressing, tapping, and kneading with palms, fingertips, knuckles or implements that help the body to remove blockages along energy meridians and stimulates the flow of qi and blood to promote healing. Tui na’s massage-like techniques range from light stroking to deep-tissue work, which would be considered too vigorous or painful for a relaxing massage. Clinical practitioners often use liniment, plasters, herbal compresses and packs. In China, Tui na practitioners may also perform chiropractic-type adjustments.

Related Links

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

North Carolina Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board

Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin

Acupuncture Today

Alternative Medicine Foundation

Community Acupuncture Network

Infertility and Acupuncture