The cups are arranged to target areas of stagnation and to promote the removal of toxins. This suction stimulates the flow of blood, lymph, and qi to the affected area. Another excellent use of cups is for lung problems, especially coughing, bronchitis and asthma. The suction powerfully helps break up phlegm and congestion. Cupping is a practice in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (by using change in heat or by suctioning out air), so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup. Cupping is great for muscle tension and spasm in the large open areas of the back where it is easiest to place the cup.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing, strengthen the blood and stimulate the flow of qi. Research has shown that mugwort, also known as artemesia vulgaris, acts as an emmenagogue, that is, an agent that increases blood circulation. Moxibustion is used on people who have cold or stagnant conditions.
The indirect burning of moxa on specific meridian points, expels the cold and warms the meridians, which leads to a smoother flow of blood and qi. Examples of cold/stagnant symptoms are: cold hand & feet, slow metabolism, muscle tension, menstrual cramps and infertility. A landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that up to 75% of women suffering from breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion at an acupuncture point on the Bladder meridian.
Using an understanding of the meridian system, acupoints are pressed and manipulated to release tension and to promote the flow of qi (vital energy). This is a relaxing and invigorating treatment which re-energizes and brings balance to the body and mind.
We often treat musculo-skeletal pain with acupressure in combination with acupuncture and exercises. For patients who do not feel comfortable with acupuncture, acupressure in conjunction with cupping can be an alternative method to the treatment of many conditions. It can also be used as a preventive and maintenance treatment to combat many of our daily stresses.