Improve Chi Circulation With Chinese Medicinal Cupping

Fremont Chinese medicine has many ancient branches of healing: nutritional therapy, massage, herbal medicine, and acupuncture make up the most widely used. However, Chinese cupping therapy is fast becoming as famous as its well-known counterparts. A few years ago, you may perhaps have seen photos of Gwyneth Paltrow wearing a backless dress walking on the red carpet with cupping marks all over her back? It may sometimes take a bit of popular culture to remind us of age-old styles of healing!

Cupping therapy has been used in China for millennia. Initially, it was applied with cross sections of bamboo or cattle horns. These ‘cups’ were ignited in fire or boiled in water to generate negative pressure inside the bamboo or horn to push out the air and draw the skin into the cups. In treating boils, the cups were mostly used to draw out blood and pus. At first, cupping was used as a complementary treatment for traditional Chinese surgery. Soon, it was shown to have the power to treat other diseases; eventually, it evolved into a special healing technique.

Cupping was first mentioned in the ancient book Bo Shu, which written on silk, discovered in a tomb associated with the Han Dynasty. Many other ancient documents mentioned Chinese medicinal cupping. Hundreds of years later, the Su Sen Liang Fang, another preeminent medical document described cupping therapy as a potent treatment for chronic cough and in the fruitful treatment of venomous snake bites.

Several thousand years later, based on clinical experience amassed over the course of time, the medicinal applications of cupping have become increasingly popular. Today, this healing art is used to treat skin conditions, indigestion problems, chronic cough, the common cold, asthma, and arthritic symptoms.

There’s a saying in China: “Over half of the ills cured with cupping and acupuncture.” Over two centuries ago, a physician by the name of Shao Sue Ming, compiled a book called Ben Cong Gang Mu Zhe Yi whereby he detailed the origin and background of various form of kinds of cup shapes and cupping applications and functions.

In the Chinese mainland, the evolution of cupping therapy has been frenetic. The clinical potency of cupping was established by the co-research of acupuncturists from the former Soviet Union and China in the 1950’s. Because of this, cupping therapy was confirmed as an official healing practice in hospitals throughout China.

These day, as celebrities such as Gwyneth and other less known but nonetheless, very important people are looking to alternative therapies to address their health problems, the use of cupping and traditional Chinese medicine modalities is increasing. Most of the cupping techniques and equipment used today are exactly the same as they were thousands of years ago. Today, silicone suction cups are used as well as mechanized or electronic pumps for cupping but to a great extent, an overwhelming number of cupping practitioners still use glass, bamboo or horn cups.

With the exception of a few acupuncturists, the reason cupping procedures have stayed the same as in ancient times is because this therapy is commonly practiced in rural areas where very little or no modern medicine is available.

Cupping influences the movement of blood and Chi in the body. It extracts and removes pathogenic elements such as heat, damp, cold and wind. It also opens the pores of the skin, which facilitates the elimination of pathogens through the skin itself.

My first encounter with this treatment occurred when I was suffering from a really severe cold. I visited an acupuncturist recommended my by friend who placed cups on my back. Before the cupping procedure, my back was rubbed with massage oil and later on the cups were applied on my back while I was lying upside down. I felt the sharp edges of the cups slowly digging into my flesh. Suddenly, as my skin was sucked up from my body I experienced a smoothing warmth on the area of treatment. The acupuncturist moved the cups up and down my back once they were firmly in place. After a while, she stopped the procedure with the cups still strongly attached to my back. She told me to rest for several minutes. After 30 minutes or so, she removed the cups from my back. I felt much improved once I rose up from the table. I had purplish blue marks on my back but the heaviness in my chest disappeared. These marks didn’t bother nor hurt me at all. Two days later, they vanished along with my cold. Cupping provided me a way to get rid of my cough and cure of my cold.

Moxibustion Treatment of Childhood Asthma

It has been proven in medical studies that moxibustion can definitely treat childhood asthma. The question is whether moxibustion is a good treatment for the resolution of asthma in a child.

What is Moxibustion?

The healing technique of moxibustion involves the use and burning of a mugwort herb that has been rolled and shaped into a ‘cone’ or ‘cigar’ and after the herb smolders, is applied indirectly on the skin at preselected acupuncture points (acupoints). To prevent the skin from being burned, the practitioner uses a variety of protective devices, making the treatment totally safe.

Moxibustion may also entail the use of acupuncture needles heated and then inserted into the body. Afterwards a burning mugwort herb is placed on the tip of the needles to boost the therapy’s healing effects. Suspended moxibustion doesn’t require the use of needles.

In Cleveland Chinese Medicine, moxibustion has a very high rate of efficacy and success. It has been the subject of numerous of clinical trials both in China and the West.

Moxibustion Research on Childhood Asthma

In universities and hospitals in China, it has been determined that when applied to acupoints, moxibustion can successfully treat infants with asthma without the benefit of massage.

The study tested 60 infants who were suffering from asthma. They were divided randomly and equally into two groups. One group was treated with conventional moxibustion to six acupoints and the other group was treated with moxibustion plus a massage apparatus to the same six acupoints. The treatment sessions were given every day for a 3 month period.

Three months later, the moxibustion-massage apparatus group scored a 90 percent total rate of effectiveness (27/ 30 patients), while the moxibustion-only group registered an 83 percent total rate of effectiveness.

The reasearchers utilized the acupoints CV 12, CV 14, Bl 12, Bl 20, and BL 13.

Total rate of effectiveness was judged on whether the procedure led to a substantial decrease reduction of asthmatic symptoms and asthma attacks.

Based on the study, the researchers concluded that a combination Chinese medicine and new moxibustion-massage apparatus for asthma in infants led to meaningful therapeutic effects such as relief of asthma symptoms and a decrease in asthma attacks. The outcome is more superior to suspended moxibustion.

No Negative Side Effects
The research also found that moxibustion treatment resulted in no adverse side effects. No adverse effects is quite an accomplishment for a healing program This is typical for acupuncture and moxibustion.

Gua Sha Therapy Can Be Used As A Treatment For Perimenopause Symptoms

According to a new study, there is a Chinese medical technique that uses a smooth-edged tool to rub or scrape certain areas of the body that can help alleviate troublesome symptoms women experience during perimenopause, which is the years leading up to menopause.

Perimenopause may start eight to ten years prior to menopause, as the amount of estrogen in women fluctuate and begin diminishing but their menstrual periods continue. Women may suffer from insomnia, hot flashes, mood swings, tiredness, pains, forgetfulness, aches, pain during sex and vaginal dryness during this time, and for another year or more after their periods completely cease.

According to a review published in Menopause, a medical journal for women, about 75% to 92 % of women undergoing perimenopause suffer from at least some of these symptoms, and about 40 % consider them difficult enough to seek medical attention.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, gua sha therapy is one of its most commonly used techniques. And it’s believed to work by generating an anti-inflammatory effect and increasing surface circulation.

Pei-bei Duan, co-author of the review said “in clinical practices all across China, gua sha therapy has been widely applied.”

Past research has shown it may treat or prevent a variety of frequently-occurring and common illnesses, such as colds, chronic or acute pain, flu, heatstroke, fever, emphysema, and asthma.

Researchers recruited 80 women experiencing perimenopausal symptoms for the study. The divided the women into 2 groups.

One group was given a conventional treatment that involved drinking a liquid made from Chingxin Zishen Tang, a traditional Chinese herb two times a day plus 15-minute Gua sha sessions each week in which a practitioner uses a skin lubricant and a buffalo horn scraper to stimulate acupuncture points similar to those used in acupuncture focusing on the upper limbs, lower limbs, and back for eight weeks. The second group received only conventional treatment also for eight weeks.

The scraping during treatment produced purple or red marks on the skin that usually fade within a week.

Scores on a menopause-specific quality of life questionnaire after eight weeks showed improvement for both groups, but meaningfully more for the group treated with Gua sha group and conventional care. This group also showed greater reductions in insomnia, sweating, hot flashes, melancholia, nervousness, headache, and fatigue than the conventional treatment only group.

According to Francesco Cardini. M.D, head of the Social and Health Regional Agency in Italy and who was not involved in the study, the studies available on this topic are weak and few.

Gua sha therapy like the other traditional therapies produces superficial transitory skin lesions and may not be agreeable to women who have no knowledge of Chinese medicine.

According to Duan, “Gua sha treatment for the symptoms of perimenopause was tolerated well by the people in the study,” He added, “Only a couple of mild adverse and transient events were reported and zero significant negative effects were reported. Both these effects were shown to be unrelated to Gua sha. Both the two cases experienced mild dizziness; one case was caused by extreme nervousness and the other case fell to hypoglycemia because the patient hadn’t eaten breakfast.”

It is not known what long-term benefits gua sha therapy can offer people. In principle, this therapy is accessible to all Chinese women, but only at major Walla Walla Traditional Chinese Medicine hospitals.

Duan said, “Women living in rural areas need to travel long and for to the major cities to get the therapy, which is difficult.” “These women should try gua sha if they access to the therapy.”

Many licensed massage therapists In the U.S, offer Gua sha therapy which has been endorsed by sports icons like Michael Jordan.

Cleaning Your Bones With Chua K’a Massage Therapy

Practiced by ancient Mongolian warriors who believed it would increase success in battle, Chua K’a is a self-massage technique that’s used today to improve cellular memory and increase success in whatever personal battles one encounters.

Defined as the physical remembrance of happenings that weren’t cleared on the mental and emotional levels, cellular memory can manifest in the form of past injuries, but usually, it’s just a dull persistent ache that’s felt once in a while.

During massage, some people can sometimes become emotional because massage can activate and erase cellular memory. Some therapists trained in chua k’a massage have had clients who have suddenly reacted emotionally because the emotion they are now expressing had been locked up for a long time.

The therapist usually does not know what the experience of the client is (and neither does the client), but, it is not important for either of them to know. More often than not, after the emotional release of the client, his body experiences increased range of motion or movement in the part of the body the therapist had been working on that activated the emotion.

Some clients may not experience results immediately following treatment but they start to experience a greater range of motion later on in their lives. What this means is that a freeing up of cellular memory is usually followed by a new response to an experience that has already frequently happened in the current life of a person.

To provide one simple example, if a person played soccer once as a kid and was struck in the face with the ball, but haven’t been able to express the pain that he or she felt at the time (because of embarrassment?), the person will bring with him/her that cellular memory in his/her subconscious until it is expressed. If that person goes to a chua k’a practitioner and begins crying when his/her face is massaged, the next time he/she is invited asked to play soccer, that person might agree to play even though, before the experience of emotional release, he/she had previously refused to participate for many years.

The Mongols practiced Chua K’a (also called “bone cleansing”) because they believed that if they were still energetically holding on to past experiences and issues, when faced with the challenge of a new battle, those experiences would restrain their performance as a warrior psychically, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

The Healing Practice of Chua K’a

Practicing Chua K’a can take at least an hour of your time. The Mongols would require several hours ‘cleansing’ every bone in their body, but today, therapists usually begin with the feet (since there are 26 bones in each foot, this may take a bit of time,) working their way up the client’s head.

You can enjoy Chua K’a as a special ritual. You can light a few candles and take a salt bath, and then drop small amounts of essential aromatherapy oils into a burner and then put on a CD on a player and play some sounds of nature or some soothing music. For even more energetic healing support, some people will place crystals around themselves.

 Breathe deeply and relax for five minutes. This is a good time to ground your energy if you know how to do that. But if you don’t know, as much as you can, become conscious of the energy field surrounding you. Try to visualize a bubble of colored or white surrounding you ten feet in all directions, and there is a single cord that connects you to the earth’s center coming out of the base of your spine, and one other cord rising from the top of your head connecting you to the infinite cosmos.

 Now lightly place your hand on the bone you’ve selected for treatment. Let your hand stay there for a while and become conscious of the various levels there, both the bone and soft tissue.

 Put on pressure there gradually. Visualize your hand literally sinking into your flesh, through the strata of fascia. If you perform this slowly and adequately, you will eventually imagine feeling your hand sinking into your body and that you begin to feel your hand touching the hard surface of your bone.

 At this stage a little bit of creativity is required. When you get to the part in the Chua K’a ritual when you are ‘touching’ bone, visualize a white light emanating from the tips of your fingers. Consider this as energy being extracted up from the earth and extracted down through the cosmos via the cords that you imagined earlier. Now imagine a white light surrounding a part of your bone (or the whole bone) and with this light, all debris around the bone is washed away. Imagine the debris falling off into the ground gently to be neutralized. Through this light, send love to that part of your body.

Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.

Simple Qigong Exercises For Pain And Headache

Chigong, Chikung, or Qigong, are all the same activity and are all pronounced chee gung. It is a Chinese exercise and health system that goes back 4000 years into the past.

In the most primitive forms of Qigong, practitioners would teach laborers basic rudimentary exercises to help them better deal with their difficult lives. Later on, Qigong became an indispensable component of Chinese medicine. Herbal medicine and acupuncture are the two other components of Chinese medicine. A regular part of Chinese medicine practice is in using Qigong to manage headaches.

The Qigong practiced today is composed of three activities, visualization, movement, and breathing. Qigong was divided up into various schools in the early part of last century. These include Martial Arts Qigong developed to enhance stamina and power, Exercise Qigong with activities to strengthen and to improve flexibility and mobility and to strengthen the muscles and medical Qigong that comes with specific exercises for treatment of specific illnesses.

Medical Qigong was developed to alleviate and/or prevent headaches via gentle relaxing movements and special breathing techniques.

Since most headaches are due to muscle tension and stress, it is quite easy to alleviate the pain and even simpler to prevent the headache from occurring again.

Qigong is similar to Tai Chi, and if you’ve ever seen how this practice (Qigong) is done, you will have an idea of the fluid and slow movements of Tai Chi.

Method One – Lying down

Make sure your shoulders and neck are comfortable while lying flat on your back. Shut your eyes and count ten slow long breaths. Visualize the word relax on each breath. With each breath feel yourself relaxing more and more. Visualize your shoulder and neck muscles becoming as soft as gelatin and that you’re sinking lower and lower into your bed.

If you want to lie down, make sure you use a pillow to support your neck. This is a good idea when you already have a headache

Method Two – Sitting

Sit comfortably in a soft chair and repeat the same relaxing and breathing as when lying down. If your headache gets worse when you lie down, try sitting. Sitting can also be a good idea when you’re already suffering from a headache.

Method Three – Headache Prevention

While standing, keep your feet shoulder width apart. Inhale through your nose up to the count of three, and exhale out your nose again on the count of three. Begin moving your shoulders, arms, and feet slowly in a comfortable manner.

This exercise is known as spontaneous Qigong and needs no additional instruction apart from the fact that you move in order to identify soreness in your muscle. You then repeat gently the movement slowly once you locate the area of the sore muscles. This is designed to locate the muscles in your back, shoulders and neck, which because they’re tight are partly responsible for the headaches you’re feeling, and then relax and move them whilst breathing deeply into the muscles. Again visualize your muscles softening.

Heather Shultz is a licensed acupuncturist in Marlton, NJ with advanced training in modern acupuncture techniques and traditional Asian therapies.

Positive Habits One Can Learn From Studying Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine has certain positive habits that will be useful for you. These habits can help you become a more effective student, a better partner and parent, help you perform more productive work with a better attitude and make you an overall happier person. These habits are as follows:

1. Activation of “cure-all” acupuncture points

According to Chinese medicine, the human body has certain acupoints that are generally regarded as preventative for a broad spectrum of conditions. When regularly stimulated, these acupoints can help keep energy free from blockages and increase the flow of Blood and Chi throughout the body. As most of us are unable to use acupuncture needles correctly and safely, we can instead rely on acupressure to activate the points. If you don’t know where the acupoints are located, feel around the affected part of the body until you find an area that feels tender to the touch. Exert pressure for about fifteen to thirty seconds at a time and repeat on each side nine more times. The area should feel quite tender as you do this. You can use also use indirect moxibustion to stimulate the points. These are the commonly used acupoints for self healing:

a) Bai Hui or Governing Vessel-20 (GV20): Not usually deemed a “cure-all,” but effective for students and bloggers who are too often trapped in their heads.
b) He Gu or Large Intestine-4 (LI4): Commonly used for treatment of headaches – but nonetheless, effective for a lot of conditions.
c) Zu San Li or Stomach-36 (St36): The most widely used “cure-all” and preventative point.

2. Regular Qigong

Most people don’t always have the desire, energy, or time to perform a full Qigong practice. Qigong is also called walking meditation, and it can also be a sitting meditation practice, and visualization with full body shaking. Whatever form of you choose, simply allow your body to be your guide. People can perform Qigong with any physical exercise they have been performing before. You can practice Qigong through Yoga or by meditating while walking in the style of Zen. Most importantly, Qigong is about constant practice. It will definitely have a positive effect in you.

3. Practice guidance and contemplation using Yijing

If you take your self-cultivation seriously, you can seek guidance and divination through the Yijing. Some people have found it extremely effective as a way to overcome mental muddiness. If you find yourself feeling confused or lost, simply sit down and use the Yijing to concentrate on your question and allow the process of meditation and the Yijing (some people use bamboo sticks for this) do the work for you. There’s no need to make implausible claims of communicating with the Spirits to let you know that you are able to overcome seemingly impossible problems. We very much recommend Stephen Karcher’s version of Yijing.

4. Repeated intake of herbal tea (angelica sinensis, lyceum, goji.wolfberry, and flower of chrysanthemum)

Students who frequently drink herbal tea will make their “eyes and ears extremely bright” which means dinking herbal teas will enhance their intellectual ability. These teas are available at your local Chinese drugstore and you don’t need a prescription to purchase them. They also can be bought at Chinese groceries and natural foods stores. If possible, buy organic products and see to it that the herbs look vital (they’re not too dry and have deep colors). Boil the tea in a teapot. You can use a teapot glass that’s used to brew coffee. The herbs can boil for a while and you can make a lot of cups. You can drink the tea many times each week and drink it daily in the winter.

5. Meditate and wonder on the vastness and mystery of the universe

If you know a little bit about Chinese medicine, you would know that its roots lie in Taoist philosophy. Chinese medicine can be a specific form of medicine mainly because of the complexity of the human body and the intricacy of the universe they live in. You will find yourself bowing your head in humility and awe of this time and place and always bear in mind that life is a never ending process of learning and advancing.

6. Study constantly and intently

School isn’t always easy for a lot of people. Many have probably struggled in high school and college. But when one goes to college, that’s where the real learning begins as this will determine what path of life a person will take. Studying to be a professional is perhaps the easiest way to achieve ones goals. Some people may be interested in studying Chinese medicine and others will take a different path. But whatever direction one chooses, they way they study and learn will determine the kind of professional they will be in the future.

7. Be respectful to others and yourself

People who have studied Chinese medicine have made them more respectful and compassionate to others. Studying medicine makes people better able to feel empathy for the suffering of other people and it definitely will have the same effect on you. The respect aspect you will learn through the study of Confucian literature and the medical classics. The more respect you show to your fellow students and teachers, the more richness in life you will feel flowing back to you.

Carrying out these habits can be quite an organic process – but some aspects (daily Qigong, intent study) may require some gentle encouragement on the part of your Will. Strict adherence to these habits will make you successful in school and in life.

Eastern Healing Solutions, LLC
10875 Grandview St #2200
Overland Park, KS 66210
(913) 549-4322

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