There are various techniques that I use to complement and enhance the effectiveness of acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Electro-acupuncture (EA) is a therapeutic method that uses a pulsed electric current to stimulate acupuncture points. The current is conducted through acupuncture needles and can give stimulation over an extended period of time with an electric wave of uniform or varied pattern, which may feel more tolerable to the patient than continuous manual stimulation. EA is used to enhance the action of acupuncture; for example to relieve pain, increase circulation or induce labour. The sensation of the pulse through the needle is slowly adjusted to what can be comfortably be felt by the patient.
Cupping is a very old therapeutic technique in which a jar is attached to the skin by creating a suction. The jars are made of glass or plastic and the suction is created by removing the oxygen from the jar using a flame or a hand pump. This has the effect of promoting blood circulation and clearing tightness from the underlying muscles. It also draws out pathogens, seen in Chinese medicine as wind, cold and damp, which means it can help relieve early symptoms of a cold/flu.
Moxibustion is the oldest form of therapy in China. This technique uses the herb mugwort to stimulate acupuncture points or areas of the body by a variety of heating/burning methods. Applying moxibustion can help restore energy, improve posture, warm cold, relieve pain, or stop bleeding. It can reinforce an acupuncture treatment or be used on its own.
There are a variety of ways to use moxa; a moxa stick held over a point or area of the body, a small direct moxa cone can be placed on the skin (or indirectly on ginger) and removed as the patient feels warmth, or a moxa cone can placed on top of the needle (warm needling). A Japanese approach called ontake uses moxa in a bamboo roll, which is tapped and rolled on the skin providing a lovely warmth to the body and channels.
Auricular acupuncture is the stimulation of points on the outer ear, or ‘auricle’. In Chinese medicine it is believed that each part of the body has a corresponding auricular point or area. These points reflect the physiological or pathological state of the body and can be stimulated to regulate dysfunction of their corresponding body part.
Auricular therapy can be used on its own, using point prescriptions for the treatment of particular conditions. It can also be used to complement and reinforce an acupuncture treatment.
A number of doctors in China researched treating cerebral diseases by stimulating corresponding locations on the scalp. Extensive and repeated applications proved that needling the scalp over different functional areas of the cerebral cortex was effective to treat the symptoms of neurological disorders.
Scalp acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific scalp lines such as the motor, tremor or sensory line. Thereby needling the scalp can be an effective way to treat the symptoms and physical signs of various neurological conditions, including neuro/motor disorders, paralysis, pain, and also psychosomatic disorders such as depression and anxiety.