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Tools of the Trade

Acupuncture Needles

Small sterilized, disposable needles that are never reused and come prepackaged. They are used to release knotted muscle fibers and stimulate the body's ability to heal. They move qi and blood through the meridians that connect to organ systems like the kidney, spleen, heart, etc. They also stimulate regions of the dermatomes, which are areas of skin supplied by the spinal nerves.

Cupping

Plastic or glass cups that are used to push and pull fascia and the muscle in order to release knotted muscles, increase circulation, and help toxicity.  

I use 2 types: regular cupping where the cups stay in place for 2-5 minutes, and cupping massage, where I put oil on you and then move the cup around the skin above tight muscles.

Electric Stimulation (E-stim or TENs Unit)

Instead of the standard square patches, acupuncture uses the same electricity on tiny metal clamps that attach to the needles and send a very small jolt of electricity through the needle, and into the muscle or joint. Studies show that that this is very effective for decreasing inflammation and deterioration in the joint, as well as helping tight muscles to release.

Smokeless Moxa

Most often done to turn breech babys, to warm areas that are stagnated due to cold, to nourish very deficient patients, or to warm the womb of a mother after birth. 

This is the practice of burning mugwort that is rolled into a cigarlike tool. Known as Ai Ye in chinese medicine, this herb invigorates and warms the area, increases circulation, and releases cold and stagnation. I typically use 2 types, smokeless moxa, and a tiger roller.

 Gua Sha

Gua Sha is a healing technique that is an instrument assisted unidirectional press stroking of a lubricated area in which the practioner intentionally creates transitory therapeutic petechia called "sha" representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis.  

Research shows Gua Sha produces anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that lasts for days following a gua sha treatment. This accounts for its effects on pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, etc. and why gua sha is effective in treating colds, muscle pain, and acute and chronic internal organ disorders including liver inflammation in hepatitis.