Other Chinese medicine treatments
Traditional Chinese medicine has many different natural healing treatments that can help to resolve health issues. These ancient healing forms have been used effectively with few known harmful side effects for thousands of years. They can be used effectively as stand-alone treatments, or in combination with other treatment types.
Each and every Chinese medicine treatment is based on qi, one of the fundamental building blocks of our body. These treatments work to boost and balance qi, giving your body, and being, the healing support it needs to regain its healthy function.
Electro acupuncture is similar to traditional acupuncture in that the same points are stimulated during treatment. An electro acupuncture session begins the same as a traditional acupuncture session, with needles being inserted into acupuncture points, however, rather than leaving the points to rest and be manipulated by hand, a small electrical device is connected to perform the stimulation.
The device is connected to the acupuncture needles via two wires. The wires have clips on the end, which attach to the head of the needle. Electro acupuncture uses two needles at time, so the impulses can pass from one needle to the other. Several pairs of needles can be stimulated simultaneously, depending on the condition being treated. The output of the machine is adjustable, which means it can be set to a level that’s most comfortable and suited to you.
Electro acupuncture is not a painful procedure. The machine sends a small gentle current through the needle into the muscle. The pulse can only be felt in the area where it is attached. The pulse feels like a gentle tapping sensation. It can feel a little funny at first until you’re use to the sensation. Your practitioner will start the machine at a lower intensity, then over the space of five minutes, as your muscle gets use to the rhythmic beat, will gradually increase the output.
The optimal duration for electro acupuncture ranges between 15-30 minutes. Electro acupuncture is largely known for its effectiveness as a pain reliever. This can be explained with The Gate Control Theory. A key element of this theory is the concept of a gate; The gate allows pain signals to reach the brain when it’s open and blocks the signals when it’s closed. The electrical stimulation passing into the muscle with electro acupuncture, travels the muscle fibre ends, closing their gates, preventing the pain message from being sent from the site of the injury, to the brain for interpretation. It effectively stops pain in its tracks before it can be felt.
In this clinic, electro acupuncture is mainly used for the treatment of painful conditions. It’s commonly applied around areas with dense fibrous tissue, like intervertebral discs, tendons, joint capsules or ligaments. It’s used in treatment to relieve pain and promote healing.
Cupping is the application of glass cups to the skins surface through suction. In a typical session, 2-10 cups are applied for 5-20 minutes. Heat is used to create a negative pressure which lifts and stretches the underlying tissue up into the cup. Cups are applied to regions where pain and tension is felt.
Cupping isn’t painful, it’s in fact quite relaxing. It can be thought of as the opposite to a massage; Rather than pressing down for relief, cupping gives relief by lifting upwards and stretching out. If you suffer from muscle pain and general tightness, cupping could be great for you. It can be beneficial for pain, inflammation and blood flow. Cupping can be applied using a gliding or stationary technique. With a stationary technique, the cups are applied and left in place, stretching and increasing circulation in the local area. This technique is great for pain that’s fixed in one location.
A gliding technique is used for pain that spreads across a larger area. Back and forth gliding of the cup gives a strong mechanical stretch, which softens and lengthens the muscle.
Cupping is a non-invasive treatment. It’s generally very safe; however, a common side effect is bruising. Your practitioner will be able to go into greater detail during your consultation as to why this bruising may or may not occur for you. Cupping bruises don’t cause pain. If there is discomfort, it’s minimal. Bruising can last for 3 days to a week. With each treatment, the degree of bruising should decrease, as the previously dysfunctional area becomes functional once again.
Cupping therapy is continued until the bruise marks cease from showing after treatment. At this point, the treatment area is considered to have good flow and be back to a healthy state, no longer requiring treatment.
Moxibustion is a heat therapy used in Chinese medicine. It’s a controlled and therapeutic heat that’s held directly above the skins surface, which is used to warm the area and increase circulation.
The heat that comes from moxibustion is generated by burning the herb called Mugwort– more commonly referred to as moxa. Moxa is rolled up into a stick, which is either held in the hands of the practitioner or is suspended in place with the assistance of equipment. Some practitioners may also use moxa in combination with salt or ginger.
Moxa never comes into direct contact with the skin; It’s held 3-4 cm away from the body’s surface. It’s similar to having a heat pack or hot water bottle applied to your body; Expect to feel warmth during the treatment. As the moxa stick is 1-2cm in diameter, the heat will only be felt in a targeted and specific area, such as an elbow, knee or shoulder.
Unlike acupuncture, moxibustion uses thermal heat to create a treatment response. This type of stimulation can alter cell activity, blood flow, pain perception and muscle state. What this does is stimulate the body’s natural healing process, reduce pain and increase tissue stretching. For these reasons, moxibustion is commonly used in this clinic for treating muscle tension and chronic muscle pain.
Gua sha is an instrument assisted manual therapy practice. This technique involves repeated wiping and pressing strokes over lubricated skin using a smooth-edged tool. It triggers a healing response which may reduce pain and relieve muscle tension. Gua sha feels like a strong massage. Instead of the practitioner using their hands to release a muscle, a smooth-edged tool is used instead. This has additional therapeutic benefits.
The brisk wiping action used in this technique stretches underlying connective tissue. It’s used to relieve muscle tension. It’s often used in this clinic to treat stiff necks and shoulders, tension headaches, as well as migraines. Gua sha technique can also be applied to regions where scar tissue has formed.
Scar tissue can form for many reasons. It may be the result of an immediate injury (for example a sprain, or strain) or be caused by every day wear and tear (for example carrying bags, sitting at a desk, or carrying children). Gua sha breaks down the misaligned fibres in scar tissue, triggering the healthy regrowth of muscle fibres. This may reduce pain and give muscles back their range of motion.
While results can vary, many patients experience immediate relief after their first treatment. After a gua sha treatment, it’s common to feel mildly tender and see small red dots on the treated area. These red dots (called petechiae) can last for three days to a week, after which skin appearance returns to normal. These side effects will decrease with each treatment as the targeted area gets better. Gua sha is a fantastic treatment option for those suffering with sore and tense muscles, whom are looking for a strong and vigorous treatment to get things moving again.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is the use of a plants seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers, for medicinal purposes. There are more than 450 substances commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine. It’s highly likely, that without even realising, you’re already consuming Chinese herbs. Examples of these herbs include ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, and peppermint. Herbal medicine is mainly plant based, though some preparations are mineral or animal product.
Chinese herbal medicine is safe to use. In Australia, herbs are regulated and quality assured by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), in accordance with the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. Traditionally, prescriptions use raw ingredients, like roots, bark or leaves. The ingredients would be cooked in a boiling pot and turned into a tea. This can be a lengthy process, so for your convenience, our Chinese herbal medicine is available in tasteless, easy to swallow, pill form.
Chinese herbal medicine can be taken safely in conjunction with a number of medications. Sometimes, Chinese herbal medicine can be used to substitute medication too. If Chinese herbal medicine is an option you may be considering, it’s best to discuss this with a doctor first, for their prior approval. It’s not safe to stop taking your medication, or alter the dose, without first consulting a doctor.