Cupping is an excellent therapy to release tension from sore, knotted and overused muscles. Katrina uses glass fire cups, which requires a cupping torch to be inserted into the cup, drawn back out and the cup is quickly placed on the skin. The flame draws the oxygen out of the cup, which provides the suction that is so beneficial. The process is rarely uncomfortable, most patients report a pleasant feeling of releasing pressure as the tissues are pulled up and into the cup, providing improved circulation to the area. This process can leave the skin appearing bruised, however it is not generally tender.
Gua Sha is very similar to cupping. It is the use of a jade or ceramic tool with smooth edges used to gently scrape the tissue around sore, knotted and overly tense muscular areas. It does leave marks similar to cupping, but they are not tender like bruises.
Asian Body work
Chinese body work/deep tissue massage. Tuina means ‘push pull’ Katrina had four full quarters of Tuina training which informs her treatment of musculoskeletal complaints such as shoulder pain, low back pain, neck pain and headaches. She often does some light tuina in order to assess which muscles are involved in the complaint prior to choosing which points to needle. She does deeper body work following acupuncture treatments in order to ensure the muscles remain relaxed following treatment. Katrina does not offer massage as a stand alone treatment.
Moxibustion is the burning of dried mugwort on or near certain acupuncture points on the body. Chinese theory posits that the warming of these points and channels stimulates the flow of qi (energy) and blood. Western research shows that moxibustion increases the production of white blood cells and thereby stimulates the immune system. There are many different ways to perform moxibustion. Most often, Katrina uses a method called ‘warm needle technique.’ She places a small ball of dried moxa on the needle handle, lights it with an incense stick and allows it to smolder until the patient feels the heat. This method is especially good for penetrating in to areas of stagnation to allow the free movement of qi and blood. It is especially good for menstrual pain and abdominal complaints in general.
Indirect moxa is the warming of a channel or point using a stick of moxa. This method is commonly used on the acupoint Zhiyin (UB67) for the turning of breech babies. Katrina offers this service as well as training in how to do the method at home, as the recommendation is to perform it daily for 10 days then check the position of the baby. References to this practice in Chinese medical literature are thousands of years old, modern medical research shows that this may work by increasing placental estrogens which stimulate the baby to turn.