Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, surgically sterilized metal needles to stimulate specific points of the body that reach meridians. These Stimulation points are called acupuncture points or acupoints. Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, holds that there are over 365 commonly used acupuncture points on different meridians that run like lines on the human body. By stimulating these points it can regulate the patients qi throughout the body and in doing so restores health to the mind and body, balancing the yin and yang inside.
How safe is it?
Insertions of needles during acupuncture should be painless. Every patient experiences the needles effects differently once they are inserted and the qi is being stimulated; patients may experience needle site tenderness, warming, minor bleeding, tight sensation or tingling refered to as 'de qi' response. Patient should report to their clinician if any discomfort arises.
Cupping is a therapeutic technique that involves the suction of the skin and the surface muscle layer to be stretched and drawn into the cup. This encourages the blood flow of the body and treats many conditions such as acute or chronic pain, respiratory issues and musculoskeletal problems.
Two common types of cupping are dry and suction cupping. In Fire cupping, the inside of the glass cup is heated with fire, then placed onto the skin. As the air inside the cup cools a vacuum is created, causing the skin and muscle layer to rise into the cup. In suction cupping a plastic or silicone cup is placed on the skin and vacuum is mechanically created by removing the air.
Does it hurt? How safe is it
After the cups are removed, temporary red and discolored marks might show on the patients skin. These marks might remain on the skin for up to 10 days. These marks are the result of bruising and minor bleeding from broken capillary blood vessels.
Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy which a commonly used herb called mugwort, is burned on or near the skin. The effect is to heat the acupuncture points in order to stimulate the flow of qi and strengthen the blood.
There are several forms of indirect moxibustion. One method is to light one end of a moxa stick and hold it close to the acupuncture point for a few minutes until the area turns red, indicating the acupuncture point is stimulated. Another common use is with both an acupuncture needle and moxa. The tip of the needle is wrapped in moxa and burned, creating heat to the acupuncture point and the surrounding area.
Is it safe? Does it hurt?
There can be some risk of burns, blisters and irritation with heat therapy. It is thus important for the practitioners to be aware of the patients tolerance to heat. A safe and established method of communication is required between patient and therapist. Patient is encouraged to report any discomfort when it arises.