Alternative Medicine Resources

Bringing You Natural & Effective Health Alternatives

The Causes of TCM Damp Heat In The Body

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In their early women life, based on grandmotherly wisdom, Southeast Asian girls have learned not to engage in any activity that will disrupt their regular period. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Bellmore , menstrual problems should be immediately treated lest it results in infertility or other types of women illnesses.

When our lungs are damaged by environmental pollution, it can cause the spleen to interrupt its function of transporting and converting fluids. This can lead to a buildup of dampness in the body as well as excessive deficient yang, which can result in damp heat.

Damp Heat Factors Based on TCM Perspective

A state of health where lack of yin or severe deficient yin permeates the body, damp heat can lead to chi deficiency or scanty chi. 

  • Inflammation or Infection – body temperature rises when, combined with yang deficiency, the body suffers from inflammation or infection. This may lead to a buildup of heat in the stomach area, resulting in stomach pain, cramps, and discomfort.

Deficient Spleen and Allergic Reaction

These conditions may be due to a malfunction of the immune system in which the body attacks certain adverse elements infiltrating the body, elevating body temperature and creating damp heat. The effects of deficient spleen chi caused by Spleen malfunction in the transportation and conversion process can also lead to a failure in  the function of the lungs to counter kidney function of moving the fluid upward resulting in the buildup of dampness in the stomach that in turn, causes back pain, cramps, and menstrual cramping.

Cold Drinks and a Diet of Raw food

Cold drinks and a raw food diet are considered pathogenic yin. Long term consumption of these foods may lead to severe yang deficiency resulting in yin vacuity and eventually in damp heat.

The Standard American Diet 

The standard American diet is by nature very yang. It is a total inversion of the raw food diet, although has the same effect: a buildup damp heat and yin vacuity in the body.

Deficient Kidney Yang

Yang Kidney deficiency can occur under extreme conditions. It is caused by the failure of the kidney to prevent a buildup of excess fluids in the stomach, which leads to inflammation and infection and, eventually, damp heat. 

Deficient Kidney Yin

If a deficient kidney yin condition exists in the body, it causes dryness and heat in the abdomen and lung and stomach, leading to excess yang or heat that in turn leads to yin deficiency that disrupts kidney function, specifically the movement of fluids in the body.

Written by Valerie

February 4th, 2020 at 1:38 am

TCM Natural Fertility Treatments

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Maitland Acupuncturists who specialize in natural fertility treatments now promote mind/body techniques and traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to help increase the chance of a woman with infertility to conceive.

Stronger blood circulation to the reproductive organs:

TCM healers believe that a stress-filled lifestyle pulls the body’s attention and blood circulation from the baby-making and reproductive organs and channel it instead to your legs and arms (caused by the “fight or flight” reaction of the body). To alter this course, they use de-stressing yoga session, focused relaxation (visualize going to a happy place), and/or acupuncture treatments to provide reproductive organs with optimal circulation of blood.

Other Helpful Tips to Treat Infertility and Increase Your Chance to Conceive

  1. Bring Balance to your Hormones

When your reproductive hormones are off, conception can become a bit hard to achieve. What causes the imbalance of hormones in the body?  It is stress (once again). Women living highly stressful lives are likely to manufacture prolactin, a stress hormone known to disrupt ovulation. Besides utilizing stress-reducing techniques, you can also use certain TCM herbs or exercise and eat a healthy diet, which are some extremely effective ways to bring back balance to the hormones of your body.

  • Stop obsessing

The more emphasis you put on your attempts for a baby in any given month and then failing, the more frustration and stress you create on yourself. In turn, this may generate more obstructions to fertility. TCM practitioners believe that being more conscious of the process of conception and acquiring a passive attitude to your outcome will help bring about balance in your body, and eventually, give you the benefit you want.

  • Make your body more responsive to conception

In TCM, having an active, muscular, and very thin body, similar to the bodies of Western female models, is not conducive to fertility. If you’re following the latest fad diet or expending all your energy vigorously working out, you may not have enough energy left to support new life in the end. What we’re saying is that you live your life in moderation.

  • Monitor your cycle

Recording your basal body temperature will help you know when you’re ovulating, whether your body is at a temperature suitable for fertility, or whether your ovulation happens on an optimal day. This tip is also endorsed by Western medicine. You can easily purchase a basal thermometer at your local pharmacy.

  • Avoid dampness

Practitioners of TCM believe dampness that has built up in your body creates obstacles in the form of fibroids and cysts, which in turn, can make conceiving difficult. Avoid damp food like alcohol, greasy foods, ice cream, butter, yogurt, cheese, and milk if you’re trying to get pregnant. To be avoided also are moist basements, humid climates, and wet clothing.

  • Boost your emotional health

TCM practitioners believe that the lungs and liver are the two most common organ systems addressed in the treatment of infertility. In TCM, the lungs associate with holding on, grief, and sadness. The liver affiliates with desire, stress, frustration, and anger. This is why Liver Chi stagnation is one of the most common diagnoses for infertility. Relax your mind by practicing meditation, yoga, or acupuncture in order to get your fertility “chi” flowing.


More and more doctors in the US are now using acupuncture and various TCM techniques to treat infertility and a host of other problems. Talk with your doctor first to make sure these TCM modalities don’t interfere with any drugs you are taking.

Written by Valerie

February 4th, 2020 at 1:09 am

Cupping Therapy Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Being an inflammatory disease without a known cause, rheumatoid arthritis has subsequently no known cure. It usually affects multiple joints and may lead to disability and severe deformity. Females are three times more at risk in developing this condition than males, and its rampancy in the U.S. is about one to two percent. Rheumatoid arthritis usually arises after 40 years of age and before 60 years of age in both sexes although it can potentially occur at any age.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis vary. The joints are bilaterally affected and experience pain and inflammation. There is stiffness and swelling in the diseased joints. In the morning, stiffness usually lasts for more than thirty minutes. Symptoms that typically arise include pain, loss of weight, malaise, and fever. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to also affect other parts of the body. It can affect the blood vessels, blood, heart, spleen, lymph nodes, lungs, and skin. This is a serious disease which can potentially shorten a person’s life and lead to severe disability.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is aimed at reducing inflammation and pain as well as to prevent deformities. Before initiating treatment, the doctor or practitioner explains to the patient that the disease itself is a supportive part and extremely part of the plan of plan. When inflammation occurs, rest is recommended to reduce the symptom. To maintain the normal movement of affected joints, exercises based on a special program are required for each patient. One extremely effective way to lessen pain and inflammation is heat therapy. Also, natural supplements containing A-3 fatty acids can help reduce some of the symptoms of this disease.

Cupping therapy

A form of complementary and alternative medicine, cupping therapy is one of the major branches of Jacksonville Chinese medicine. This healing technique increases blood circulation and relieves pain while eliminating inflammatory substances and body wastes and toxins. Cupping therapy is an extremely powerful healing modality for rheumatoid arthritis. It alleviates inflammation and pain on the affected joints. In 2005, the Egyptian Journal of Immunology stated that “Combined with standard medicinal therapy, blood-letting cupping has a wide range of benefits. It leads to significant improvement on the patient’s clinical condition especially visual analogue pain scale, it meaningfully lowers the laboratory markers of rheumatoid arthritis activity and regulates immune cellular conditions.” In one other study, submitted in partial fulfillment for M.D degree in Mansoura University, researchers say that “One of the most effective uses of cupping therapy is its use in the relief of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.” “Cupping is used in the treatment of several diseases including arthritis”. Lastly, you need to look for a licensed and qualified cupping therapist or acupuncturist to perform cupping therapy for you or your loved one.

Written by Valerie

January 27th, 2020 at 11:33 am

Ginger Moxibustion Combined With Acupuncture Can Lead To A Cure For Intractable Tinnitus

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Medical research has shown that ginger moxibustion combined with acupuncture can lead to a cure on patients suffering from intractable tinnitus. People with intractable tinnitus are usually the middle-aged people or the elderly who hear ringing in the ears, particularly in a quiet environment or in the evening. Drugs do not usually work well for this disorder. In China, researchers in Hubei province used ginger moxibustion and acupuncture to treat 34 patients with intractable tinnitus. They attained an effective rate of 91.18 percent, overall.

From the viewpoint of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, intractable tinnitus is mostly comprised of patients suffering from excess syndromes. Excess syndromes, in terms of biomedicine, can be determined as a type of sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity. The excess syndromes for tinnitus associated with TCM are usually caused by excessive fear or anger, liver Chi stagnation, or depression, and may result in an obstruction along the Shaoyang Meridian.

Tinnitus can also be caused by deficiency syndromes. These syndromes are often due to excessive work, blood and chi deficiency, a weak constitution resulting from chronic disease, or too much sex which can lead to inadequate Kidney essence that can impair the nourishment of the ears. Hence, TCM practitioners often administer acupuncture to acupoints on the Foot and Hand Shaoyang meridians encircling the ears. The meridians’ blockage is usually severe for intractable tinnitus patients and so ginger moxibustion is used to warm and clear the blockage in the channels and meridians in order to boost blood flow to the ears.

The research recruited 34 patients whose illness began four months to 11 years.

Before the start of the research, patients had to undergo physical examinations to rule out the possibility that their tinnitus was the result of certain illnesses such as vascular spastic diseases, autoimmune disease, low blood sugar, thyroid hypofunction, diabetes, anemia, head injuries, sclerosis, acoustic neuroma, or issues in the middle ear and auricle.

The channel’s blockages were usually severe, and ginger moxibustion which unblocks and warms meridians, was sued to enhance blood and chi flow in their ears.

In the acupuncture therapy session, needles were inserted into the following acupoints: GB 40, LR 3, SJ 3, GB 43, Lu 7, Sl 19, SJ 21, GB 2, and TB17. Acupoints SJ 21, GB 2 and TB 17 were needled on the affected side. The patient rested in a supine position if the tinnitus was bilateral; the patient rested on one side if the tinnitus was unilateral. Slender needles measuring 40 mm, were immediately inserted. Reducing or reinforcing manipulation procedures were selected to attain de qi based on the differential diagnosis.

To the acupoints surrounding the ears, needling was retained for thirty minutes and electroacupuncture was applied using a continuous wave. Acupuncture therapy was given for ten days once a day, comprising one course.

Acupuncture was simultaneously used with ginger moxibustion. Large ginger slices a centimeter thick was placed on the treatment site. Each slice sported a small hole in the center puncture by a needle. Then, using dried moxa, the researchers created moxa bars shaped like a pagoda, placed them on the ginger slices, lit them, placed them on the outer ear and moved the positions of the ginger slices until the moxa burned out. For every session, a couple of moxa bars were used. A single treatment was given each day for a ten day period.

After treatment, which averaged 17 days, out of the 34 patients, 8.9 percent or three patients exhibited zero improvement, 11.76 percent or four patients experienced moderate improvements, 14.71 percent or five patients showed significant improvements and 64.17 percent or 22 patients fully recovered. The rate of overall effectiveness was 91.2 percent. Four months following treatment, 27 patients in the research showed no recurrence or degradation of symptoms. From these results, it was clear that ginger moxibustion and acupuncture showed a meaningful curative effect on intractable tinnitus patients. Based on the positive outcomes of the patients, the researchers concluded that broad use of this medical treatment program is justified.

Written by Valerie

January 13th, 2020 at 2:09 am

Four Powerful Natural Therapies To Help Reduce High Blood Pressure

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It is a scientific fact that high blood pressure (hypertension) is either due to the food we eat or due to stress. The typical treatment for this disease is by taking physician prescribed drugs, which needs to be taken to immediately control the symptoms, of course. However, there are natural remedies for high blood pressure that can be administered without the need for drugs.

Qi Gong therapy

Qi Gong therapy is one of these natural remedies. In this technique, high blood pressure sufferers are required to perform exercises to eliminate any obstructions in the pathway of chi or vital energy. This natural form of treatment for hypertension is made up of exercises that target the kidney and liver. Aside from that, Qi Gong therapy practitioners have also discovered out that performing stretching exercise reduces hypertension and strengthens the heart.

Chakra Healing

Chakra healing is another natural treatment for high blood pressure that follows the same principle of vital energy or chi flowing in our body. High blood pressure is thought to be the result of uncleared and unbalanced chakra. The heart chakra is the target in the treatment of high blood pressure. Healing the heart chakra is done by performing forward bends as they promote introspection and are grounding exercises.


The ancient Chinese treatment of acupuncture vancouver is a very powerful natural remedy for high blood pressure. In the treatment of high blood pressure, the acupuncturist inserts filiform needles into acupuncture points in the wrists, forearms and legs. Some acupuncturists also attach the needles to an electrical instrument that produces small electric currents. This is called electro-acupuncture which, according to some acupuncturists, is more effective than the traditional form of acupuncture. The small electrical currents activate specific chemicals in the brain that bring about an excited response from the cardiovascular system.

Reiki Healing

Reiki may also be utilized as a natural form of treatment for high blood pressure. While helping you calm whenever you feel anxious, this healing method also energizes your body when you feel sluggish and lazy. Addressing hypertension with Reiki entails receiving energy from a source that has been transferred to the healer to the patient. This energy transfer, with the help of Reiki, can also slow down the aging process at the same time it relieves the symptoms of hypertension.

You may notice that all these cures are aimed at achieving balance in the spiritual and physical aspects of a person that’s not only gained if he is willing to try a holistic approach in treating high blood pressure. Natural therapies for hypertension abound, but it is necessary to generate harmony in your mind and body since most of these remedies focus on the heart chakra as the center of healing. Pain and illness can be prevented once this harmony is attained.

Written by Valerie

January 13th, 2020 at 1:34 am

What Is Qi Gong?

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According to ancient Chinese philosophy, Qi Gong or Chi-Kung is an age-old Chinese system of meditations, breathing techniques, exercises, and postures. Its techniques are meant to enhance and improve the chi or vital energy of the body. Chinese traditional philosophy states that chi is the fundamental vital energy responsible for vitality and health.

Qi Gong is believed to be around five to seven thousand years old. It was handed down in secrecy for many generations among teachers and monks it also survived the Chinese Cultural Revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s that prohibited a lot of traditional practices. In the 1980’s, these methods were brought to the West to encourage longevity, promote self healing, and to prevent illness. Presently, millions of people practice Qi Gong throughout the world. This ancient art inspires you to find what works best for your system.

Qi Gong has very much influenced the martial arts so much so that many of them evolved from it. Acupressure and Marlton acupuncture also use the same energy channels or meridians in the body. Acupoints that Qi Gong practice stimulates and clears.

Chi represents the vital energy that creates life. It is derived in sunlight, food, and in the air. Chi is the invisible vital energy in the body that sustains life.

Gong means movement.

Qi Gong: working with life energy and moving the energies.

The movements are meant to promote the circulation of chi in the body, which stimulates the self-healing processes of the body. Illness or pain occurs when this “significant flow” of energy is blocked. It’s the constant practice of Chi flow that enhances a person’s circulation of energy and gives him longevity and vitality. The exercises can be performed by old and young, the less able and the able; in short by everyone.


Qi Gong can be utilized as a regular routine to boost well-being and overall health, as well as for longevity and disease prevention. It can be used to reduce stress and increase energy. It generates balance, develops feelings of well being, strength, and health, and enhances the energies of the body. Qi Gong makes use of the natural functions of the body to heal chronic back and joint problems; develop stamina, coordination, and flexibility, and to release stress. The primary objective of Qi Gong is to store and develop Chi. Qi Gong is used in China along with other healing modalities for various chronic conditions, including heart disease, strokes, mental illness, depression, headaches, cancer, AIDS, allergies, and asthma. The constant practice of Qi gong enhances your flow of energy and gives you longevity and vitality.

Practicing Qi Gong

Qi Gong is made up of mental exercises, breathing techniques, movements, andpostures. Mind exercises and meditations are utilized to move chi throughout the body and enhance the mind. These exercises are called visualizations that allow you to concentrate on different parts of your body. The “Inner Smile” is one example of a Qi Gong mental exercise. The movements and postures are meant to tone, stretch, and strengthen the body to bolster the flow of energy. Postures may involve lying down, sitting, or standing.

Qi Gong exercises are cumulative. The benefits only increase as one practices Qi Gong throughout the year. As you practice, your body will become stronger and more relaxed and your spirits and health will also improve.

Qi Gong is for you if you want to:

  • Enhance your personal well being
  • Improve your health
  • Feel relaxed and happy
  • Feel packed with energy

Written by Valerie

August 20th, 2019 at 9:18 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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Women’s Health And Chinese Medicine

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For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has clearly understood women’s health, and the problems that beset it. Today, this holistic healing system to well-being and health is an extremely effective way in treating health problems concerning women including all types of menstrual-associated maladies such as depression, mood swings, headaches, and cramping.

Childbirth-Related Issues

Post-partum depression – The full spectrum health problems affecting women throughout their reproductive and post-reproductive years

Customized Treatment

The basic foundational approach to health maintenance and disease prevention of Chinese medicine lies in the uniqueness of each person, and there’s no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to disease and illnesses in this system. For instance, Chinese herbal formulas that can answer specific needs of young women as well as other formulas designed to treat conditions experienced by women in their post-reproductive years are available.

Unique Problems

Women’s reproductive systems are susceptible to unique health problems. Women as a group, for instance, have greater rates of kidney-related illnesses and problems than men, problems Chinese medicine addresses effectively via a combo of Chinese nutrition and diet, Qi Gong, acupressure, Austin acupuncture, and herbal remedies. These are all effective treatments minus the side effects.

The Power of Oriental Medicine

One case showing the effectiveness of Chinese medicine as it relates to the health of women can be seen in a thirty-two year old woman whose menstrual cycle prematurely stops. Chinese medicine has diagnostic techniques that can determine the reason for the cessation of her menstruation, and healing methods for getting it to function anew.

A Better Quality of Life

Chinese medicine is an extremely helpful way to address unique health issues affecting women. It helps them to maintain and regain a unique feeling of health and wellbeing.

Written by Valerie

August 20th, 2019 at 9:13 pm

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Practicing Qigong On A Daily Basis

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The Energy inside your body is circulating constantly. It fills all internal systems and all living cells. The flow of this energy can slow down due to the stresses of modern day living. Physical challenges and mental stress can obstruct the flow of vital energy. This movement of vital energy will cease to reach and fill important systems over time. Constricted, stressed muscles create rushed and stiff movements that block the continual, natural movement of vital energy. These abrupt, rigid motions may drain your vital energy and cause you to be sluggish. Easy rhythmic motions, however, can be continued with beneficial effects over longer periods of time.

Whether you’re at work, sleeping, at home or traveling, there are certain periods in the day when you can utilize the basic way of life inspired by regular Qigong exercises. They not only can help you relax, they can also help you refocus and refresh with improved strength. There can be a number of ways you can perform a simple exercise so subtly that no one will notice it. All you need to do is to perform Qigong movements and postures to the situations you find yourself in every day. The channels of your vital energy will open, making your motions less prone to mishap and more relaxed creating less stress and more harmony in your body.

You can also reduce the anxiety in your body everyday by observing the way you do things. When you write a letter or brush your teeth, are your arm muscles tensed? Do you apply a lot of pressure when you use a tool? When we’re aware of our actions we can learn that with a little effort, we can generate flowing faultless movements that’s totally in control and full of energy, while full of strength.

Practicing Qigong on a daily basis can open the flow of vital energy to our whole system and enhance this consciousness. When you make this a daily habit, it eventually becomes a part of your everyday life. Because of vital energy’s or chi’s nature, we really end up teaching others and ourselves about it. A Qi
Gong teacher can serve as a guide and can help you put into practice so that you can develop your skill with your chi, although learning about vital energy really comes as you encounter it yourself. A capable teacher is one who comprehends the energy channel and has developed along it himself.

Megan Dauphin is a California board certified acupuncturist and herbalist, with specialty certifications in infertility, sport’s medicine, and orthopedics.

Written by Valerie

August 13th, 2019 at 12:48 am

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Five Causes of Kidney Yang Deficiency In Women

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Sometime during their child bearing years, all women suffer from menstrual problems prior to menopause. While Western medicine has never considered menstrual problems to be an issue of women’s reproductive system, TCM or traditional Chinese medicine in Overland Park takes this condition seriously. If these menstrual conditions are left untreated, it can disrupt the harmony of a woman’s system, resulting in infertility, nervousness and other health problems.

  1. Aging

We may not be able to stop the biological process of aging, but we surely can delay it. Youth, by nature, is yang and the slow depletion of yang qi causes us to age slowly.

  1. Frequent sexual activity

Too much sexual activity depletes the kidney jing resulting in kidney yang and jing deficiency which disrupts the kidney’s normal function in regulating the natural process of conception. In serious cases, it can lead to menstrual problems or even infertility.

  1. Too much exercise

Exercise is good if you know the limitation of your body and if it is done properly. Over-exercising pushes your body over the limit and depletes your kidney yang resulting in deficient kidney yang.

  1. Life style

There are people who love to go outside during rainy weather, swim in cold water, consume raw foods, drink cold water drink taken straight from the refrigerator, etc. Doing any one of these things causes the extra yang in your body to be used up in order to neutralize the effect of the cold, which can lead to yang qi deficiency.

  1. Colding effect

Kidney yang deficiency can ensue when you’ve been consuming cold foods for a long period of time. By nature, cold foods are yin. When we eat cold food our body uses up a lot of yang energy in order to digest the food which depletes our yang qi.

Written by Valerie

August 13th, 2019 at 12:41 am

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Studies Show Gua Sha Therapy To Be An Ideal Treatment For Chronic Pain

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When it comes to instant relief of pain, there is growing evidence that gua sha, a traditional form of Chinese medicine in Winter Park in which the skin is scraped by a blunt instrument, can be quite effective.

Gua sha therapy is a 2,000-year-old form of treatment, used by Chinese mothers for generations as a domestic remedy to heal sick children. It is now used all over Southeast Asia by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, and in immigrant Asian communities throughout the world.

Over 120 clinical studies have been done on gua sha therapy since 2005, most of them focusing on the treatment of chronic back pain and other painful, musculoskeletal conditions. Harvard researchers, in 2009, discovered that the therapy has potential immunological and anti-inflammatory qualities. Another study performed in 2011, revealed that gua sha lessened liver inflammation in patients suffering from chronic hepatitis B.

Recently, research investigating the healing qualities of gua sha on 40 patients with chronic lower back and neck pain was featured in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine. The volunteer subjects were designated randomly to either a waiting list control group or a treatment group that was solely treated with gua sha.

A week after treatment, the two groups were evaluated. Compared to the control group, the subjects in the gua sha treatment group experienced better health status and significant reduction of their pain. However, enhanced pain sensitivity was reported in patients with chronic neck pain but not in the patients with lower back pain. The researchers believed the difference was due to higher sensitivity to pressure in the neck region.

One research team member from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Romy Lauche, recalled that several patients experienced continuous relief for more than a week, and one anxious participant showed surprising results. Lauche recounted a woman with a back pain scale of seven (with ten being the most painful on a 10-point scale of pain) came back for assessment without any pain. Having evaluated the woman prior to and after treatment, he could see that gua sha had cured all the woman’s muscle tension. In a phone interview, Lauche said, the evidence of tense muscles had vanished.”

Like any other forms of alternative and complementary treatments, gua sha is not without controversy. This is due mostly to the seemingly and distinctive intense marks that are the trademarks of the therapy. These marks are called petechiae and they’re neither rashes nor bruises. The petechiae appear severe enough to scare lots of patients away, patients who are seeking for a drug-free and natural alternative form of pain relief.

In 2001, a Hong Kong film entitled Gua Sha Treatment helped some people rectify their misconception about the therapy. Gua Sha Treatment starred Tony Leung and it involved a tale about Chinese-American immigrants who had to deal with cultural misunderstanding when a physician discovered the brutal gua sha marks on a young boy and reported it to the authorities. Since the movie catered to the American people, it had a happy ending. In reality however, not all gua sha procedures end up well.

Hong Kong resident Annie Tong received gua sha therapy ten years ago in a clinic in Kowloon. She still recounts her ordeal. “It was painful, and my back was as red as a radish.” The pain lasted for days, and I found little relief. I wouldn’t try gua sha again”.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, Dr Gladys Leung says that gua sha therapy need not be painful. The entire gua sha experience of the patient will depend on the patient’s sensitivity to pain and communication between the therapist and the patient. She said, “The therapist may be administering the technique too vigorously without asking any feedback from the patient.”

In Singapore, acupuncture specialist and traditional Chinese practitioner expert Wu Yue, says that for various for degrees of patient pain, there are various corresponding degrees of firmness. “It will be based on the degree of stagnation in chi and the level of blood flow.” A vigorous stroke may be applied for extremely blocked chi indicated by extremely tense muscles.”

In New York, acupuncture director of the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Centre, Dr Arya Nielsen, wrote a book about basic gua sha treatment. She headed a study to validate the reliability of gua sha therapy in the treatment of pain and deems the technique “a simple miracle of medicine.”

Dr. Nielsen has issued safety guidelines for cupping and gua sha procedures in order to elevate the quality of practice standards and to reduce risks. She believes that during a cupping or gua sha session, pain should not be a part of a patient’s experience.

The bruises caused by gua sha are perhaps the biggest misapprehensions about the treatment. Nielsen says, “Since bruising suggests injury and traumatic bleeding to the tissue, gua sha does not cause bruising because the reddish marks that appear after a session of gua sha indicate the movement of red blood cells in the skin tissue surface and not injury to the tissue.”

“When blood stagnancy develops (manifesting as recurring, persistent, or fixed pain), gua sha will force the cells to go ‘outside’ the vessels, but these cells will be immediately reabsorbed into the body.”

Gua sha alleviates pain, increases the flow of blood and enhances the function of the nervous system. Special oil is applied on the site of treatment during the procedure to relax, protect, and detoxify the body based on the needs of the patient. The therapist starts the process by scraping the skin with a blunt-edged instrument usually made from animal horn, jade, or metal.

These days, protocol demands that the gua sha instruments be disposable or sterilized to prevent infection.

The manner of press-stroking is repeated until the red dots or petechiae appear and the stroking is unidirectional. Based on the petechiae’s color, the therapist will know if the blood stagnation is chronic (purplish to dark red to black) or recent (lighter red). The marks usually vanish entirely within three days to a week.

Patients may experience a variety of symptoms after the treatment. According to Nielsen, the patient may notice, “An instant relief in pain, less likelihood to wheeze, vomit, or feel nauseated, and an increased range of motion in the joints and muscles”.

Dr. Nielsen warns that the therapy should not be administered on areas where there are pimples, moles, wounds, rash, or sunburn. Many physicians believe that the treatment should also not be given to people suffering from certain cancers and those with diabetes as well as on pregnant women. Nielsen however disagrees with this, stating that “Gua sha generates an immune response that helps protect the internal organs”.

A systematic review of controlled clinical trials of gua sha was done by researchers from the Korean Institute of Oriental Medicine. The results were published in the BioMed Central journal in 2010.

The researchers studied eleven databases and discovered 7 trials, 3 of which reported beneficial effects on pain reduction but were compromised due to poor quality of research. They concluded, “Recent evidence to prove that gua sha effectively works in the management of pain is not enough.”

A few years back, German researchers published another study in the Pain Medicine journal. In the study, they randomly designated 48 patients suffering from chronic pain in the neck to either one local thermal heat pad treatment or one gua sha treatment. They followed up a week later.

The results of the study showed that gua sha led to positive short-term benefits on functional status and pain in patients with chronic neck pain; its long-term value, however, remains to be seen.

Written by Valerie

July 30th, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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