Auricular Acupuncture 101

Auricular acupuncture is a fascinating form of acupuncture done on the ear. It is one of the most widely used microsystems of acupuncture used today. It is safe, effective and affordable. Clinically, it has many applications to treat a wide variety of diseases. In recent years, new protocols have been developed to treat substance abuse and addictive behavior.

Auricular acupuncture in Bellmore works by stimulating certain points on the ear with needles and hard herbal seeds. One of the first mentions of needling the ear was made in the classic medical text, the Ling Shu, or the Miraculous Pivot, written around the third century BC. The Ling Shu is actually a compilation of medical knowledge handed down by the Yellow Emperor Huangdi and others more than 2500 years ago.

There is also evidence that rudimentary ear acupuncture was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, the indigenous peoples in the Amazon rain forest and in parts of Africa. History also shows that attempts at ear scarification and cauterization were applied to the ear by European doctors as early as the 1600s.

But it wasn’t until 1957 that Dr. Paul Nogier, a French physician from Lyons France developed his system of auricular acupuncture. To many, he is considered the father of modern auriculotherapy. So, it appears that no one can positively lay claim to where it was first used. In fact, today there are many different systems and ear mapping.

Ear mapping is the correspondence of the body’s organs and anatomy to the points on the ear. Acupuncture, as practiced by the Chinese, follows, of course, the basic principles of Chinese medicine. The Chinese believed that the internal organ systems are connected by a network of channels and collaterals.

These channels and collaterals connect the parts of the body into an organic whole. Certain balances of Yin and Yang must be maintained in order to ward off disease or to keep the body from getting disease. The ear is closely related to the rest of the body and is connected by the channels and collaterals. It is regarded as a microsystem of the body.

When various disorders occur in the organs, a reaction may take place on corresponding parts on the ear. The development of Chinese auricular acupuncture is probably more derived from observation of functional effects rather than a strict correlation to the points on the ear to specific organs and body anatomy.

A good example of this is ear port point is the Shen men, translated as spirit door or gate, which is located at the junction between the superior and inferior antihelix crus and at the lateral one third of the triangular fossa. This is arguably, the most universally known ear acupuncture point in the world. If you have ever received auriculotherapy, chances are this point was needled.

Shen men, indicated for easing the mind, pain and sedation does not correspond to any particular organ or anatomical structure. The Nogier ear mapping is based on his famous discovery of the homunculus, known as the man in the ear. This is the representation and anatomical correlation of the inverted fetus in the ear.

When applying pressure, the practitioner will look for a tender response from the patient. Decreased reaction to an electrical current, if an electrical stimulation device is being used or certain changes or discoloration on the ear, the practitioner then takes these into consideration for both diagnosis and point selection.The Chinese system recognizes about 200 different points on the ear.

Dr. Nogier’s system is based on his discovery of the homunculus or the man on the ear. It is the representation and anatomical correlation of the inverted fetus in the ear. All the points are then matched to this inverted fetus and represent the different areas of the body, from the musculoskeletal parts to the internal organs and the brain.

Although not the same, the Chinese mapping system is quite similar to the Nogier system.

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Four Conditions That Can Be Successfully Treated With Gua Sha Therapy

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing technique that involves the scraping of the skin with a massage tool to boost blood flow in the body. It is an alternative and natural form of therapy that may provide you with a unique approach to good health and well being, mostly in resolving issues such as chronic pain.

Gua sha therapy is performed by a practitioner of Chinese medicine who scrapes your skin with long and short strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which boosts blood flow. The strokes are made with a smooth-edged tool known as a gua sha massage instrument. Before scraping, the practitioner first applies massage oil to a client’s skin, and then utilizes the instrument to repeatedly scrape the skin in a downward motion.

Gua sha is designed to treat energy or chi that has become stagnant. According to practitioners, this stagnation is due to inflammation, which is the underlying cause of various conditions related to chronic pain. They believe that rubbing of the surface of the skin can help break up the stagnation, promote healing, and relieve inflammation.

Usually performed on the legs, arms, neck, buttocks, and back of a person, gua sha massage therapy can also be performed on the face as some sort of facial massage. The practitioner may administer light to medium pressure, and slowly increase the strength to ascertain just how much force you can handle.

Benefits Derived from Gua Sha Therapy

Because it can lessen inflammation, gua sha is commonly used to resolve ailments that bring about chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis and, conditions that can cause joint and muscle pain.

It can also be effective in the relief of the following conditions:

1. Migraine headaches

Gua sha therapy may help if over-the-shelf drugs are useless against migraine headaches. A case study involving a 71-year-old woman who was suffering from chronic headaches was treated with gua sha over a two week period. During this time, her migraines got better indicating that this ancient healing art may be a viable treatment for headaches. Additional studies are required.

2. Hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B virus can cause an infection that may lead to liver scarring, liver damage, and inflammation of the liver. Studies show that gua sha can help lessen chronic inflammation of the liver.

One study observed a man manifesting high liver enzymes which is a sign of liver inflammation. He was treated with gua sha therapy and after two days of treatment, his liver enzymes started to decline. This has caused researchers to believe that gua sha has the power to treat liver inflammation, thus reducing the risk of liver damage. More studies are underway.

3. Neck pain

Gua sha therapy has been shown to effectively treat chronic neck pain. To ascertain the efficacy of this therapy, 48 test subjects were divided into two groups. One group used a thermal heating pad to treat neck pain and the other group was given gua sha therapy. After a week, the subjects who were given gua sha experienced less pain compared to the group that was not treated with gua sha.

4. Breast engorgement

A lot of breastfeeding women tend to experience engorgement of their breasts. This is the time when the breasts are overfilled with milk. This condition often arises in the initial weeks of breastfeeding or if the mother is separated from her infant for any reason. The breasts become painful and swollen, making it very hard for the infants to latch. Fortunately, this condition is usually temporary.

In one research, women were treated with gua sha from the 2nd day after giving birth up until the leave the hospital. In the weeks after giving birth, the hospital followed up on these women and discovered that many of them reported fewer incidents of breast discomfort, breast fullness, and engorgement. This made it easier for them to breastfeed.

5. Perimenopausal syndrome

Perimenopausal symptoms arise as women more and more approach menopause. Symptoms include:

• Irregular periods
• Insomnia
• Hot flashes
• Fatigue
• Anxiety

It is believed that gua sha therapy can help decrease the symptoms of perimenopause in some women.

In one case study, 80 women with symptoms perimenopause were observed. The treatment group was given 15 minute gua sha treatments once a week along with conventional treatment for two months. The control group was just given conventional treatment.

At the end of the study, the treatment group experienced a greater decrease of symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia compared to the control group. Scientists have considered gua sha therapy to be an effective and safe treatment for this syndrome.

6. Tourette syndrome

The involuntary movements associated with Tourette syndrome (vocal outbursts, throat clearing, and facial tics) have been known to respond well to gua sha therapy. In a single case study, when gua sha combined with other treatments, gua sha has shown to lessen the symptoms of Tourette syndrome among the subjects in the study.

The research included a 32-year-old male who had been suffering from Tourette syndrome since he was 9 years old. He modified his lifestyle and was treated with gua sha, herbs, and acupuncture. After he had received once-a-week treatments at the age of 35, his symptoms were significantly reduced.

Side Effects

Side effects related to gua sha therapy

Gua sha is safe as a natural healing remedy. Although the method may alter the appearance of your skin, it’s not supposed to be painful. The appearance of your skin may change because the therapy entails the scraping or rubbing of the skin with a massage instrument which causes the capillaries or tiny blood vessels near the skin surface to burst. This can lead to minor bleeding and bruising of the skin. The bruising typically vanishes two days.

After a gua sha treatment, some folks may also show some indentations on their skin.

There’s also the chance of being infected with bloodborne illnesses in if any bleeding arises; therefore it’s essential for practitioners to disinfect their instrument after each patient.

If you’ve had any surgery in the last six weeks, avoid getting gua sha therapy.

People with have clotting disorders or those who are taking blood thinners are poor candidates for gua sha.

When mainstream treatments fail to improve your symptoms, studies show that gua sha may help provide the person with some type of relief.

Gua sha therapy may appear simple and straightforward. This thing is, it should only be administered by a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine or licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana. This guarantees a person a proper and safe treatment. More studies are needed, although but there are few risks related with this massage procedure.

Whomever practitioner you go to for treatment, make sure that he or she is a certified gua sha practitioner. Certification proves they have a basic understanding of this healing art. Seeking treatment from a professional boosts the efficacy of the treatment and decreases the risk of severe bruising or pain from too much force.

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A Nobel Prize In Physiology Or Medicine For Traditional Chinese Medicine In 2005

Ever since modern Western medicine was introduced to China in the 19th century, there has been long, long debates about whether traditional Chinese medicine should still be used. But China’s latest victory in the Nobel prize medicine category may help an out-of-fashion treatment regain its glory.

TuYouyou, a 94-year-old Chinese medical scientist want the share of the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology or in developing an effective drug to treat malaria. She’s the first ever Chinese female citizen to win a Nobel Prize and the first mainland Chinese person to ever win in a scientific discipline. TuYouyou downplayed her achievement. She said, “Actually, I have not thought about the award. Honor is honor. The fundamental issue is responsibility. The more honor you receive, the more responsibilities you have.”

The drug’s discovery was the outcome of a program initiated by Mao TseTunin the early 1970s. According to the Chinese media, “The objective was to discover a cure for malaria that would help North Vietnam win in their fight with the US and South Vietnam.”

Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for over 2000 years and incorporates various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture in King of Prussia and massage therapy. Other recipes are listed in Chinese medical books and that’s where Ms. Tufound an answer to malaria. Following the recipe, Tuo and her team extractedartemisinin from a sweet wormwood plant that proved unusually effective in fighting the disease.

The finding also won her the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award in 2011. While the Chinese medicine world is cheering for its hard-earned global recognition in its field, some people think that extracting chemical compound from a plant is a modern medical approach, whereas traditional Chinese medicine suggests taking them altogether.

The official Nobel committee also wants to avoid giving too much credit to traditional Chinese treatments. But according to Urban Lendahl, Nobel committee in Physiology or Medicine Secretary, “We see that the inspiration is coming from traditional Chinese medicine, but then the drug as may made all the journey up to a modern drug that has been tested in every way.”

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Acupressure Massage Procedure To Improve Vision

One branch of the ancient Chinese healing system is acupressure, a form of massage that is at least 5,000 years old. This very old natural technique, in general, has been known to help relieve stress and pain and promote better circulation that enhances the flow of blood to all organs throughout the body for optimal well being and health. Acupressure in Cleveland involves the use of massage techniques on specific points in the body. Each point is associated with a specific organ. For example, the hands have certain pressure points that correspond to the kidneys while other points correspond to the heart. So, by administering these massage procedures to the related pressure points, one can boost circulation to that specific organ which then improves physical health. Fortunately, anyone can administer these acupressure techniques to improve the health of their eyes and alleviate eye strain related to long hours of close up work.

The following is a sample of an eye exercise that anyone can perform based on these principles. This exercise is known as the Acupressure Massage Procedure to Improve Vision. It will describe the process of how to administer this procedure and the benefits it provides for better eyesight.

This exercise is done by massaging the four vital acupressure points on the area around the eyes.

We start by pressing the upper area of the nose for five seconds using both our middle fingers and then release. Then, we apply pressure to the point found at the arch of our eyebrows in the hollow of that bone using our two middle fingers. Apply pressure on this point for five seconds and then release. Then, move on by pressing in a firm manner the areas of the eye sockets’ outer edges and hold that pressure for about five 5 seconds and then release. You can then conclude the exercise by applying pressure on the middle of both areas just below the eyelids around each eyes’ bony sockets. Hold for five seconds and then release.

You can derive a variety of benefits from this acupressure eye exercise. It certainly helps relieve tension in the eye muscles, and treats eye strain and stress. If you’re working in front of a computer and are used to doing a lot of close up work that causes eye strain, this technique can be especially helpful for you. From this vantage point, this method can come in handy as it can bring relief from eye strain related to lengthy computer use. In addition, it increases circulation to the blood vessels of your eyes. This can help address a lot of eye problems associated with weak circulation in the visual system and enhance eyesight. This acupressure eye exercise is certainly a helpful technique that rectifies this problem.

This exercise technique, in general, is part of the ancient Chinese healing art that has been known to address a variety of physical health conditions. It is achieved by performing massage techniques on the pressure point areas related to certain organs to resolve health problems and improve conditions in those specific areas. The Acupressure Massage Procedure to Improve Vision is a feature of this traditional healing art that releases tension and stress in the visual system and ultimately, improves circulation in the blood vessels of the eyes for better vision.

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A Bell’s Palsy Patient Talks About His Experience With Acupuncture

Eric was a patient of mine suffering from Bell’s palsy. Here is a short interview of how he felt about acupuncture in Walla Walla before and after treatment.

Dr. Califf: What was your life like before acupuncture?

Eric: Well, it wasn’t very good. I was a full-blown patient of Bell’s palsy and I was not doing very well. No matter what kind of medications I took or doctors I see, my condition remain untreated. My face and many of my faculties were not functioning at all. So I decided to see an acupuncturist near my area, and he began me on my journey of acupuncture.

I’m happy to say that after five weeks of regular treatments, multiple times a week, every faculty of my face, as a result of Bell’s palsy, was restored to full function and it’s as you see it today.

Dr. Califf: Wow that’s phenomenal, how did you hear about us?

Eric: You are a referral from a physician who highly recommended acupuncture. His wife had been a Bell’s palsy patient and he believed in you and your ability to help me immensely.

Dr. Califf: Oh, that’s great to hear, thank you so much for those kind words. Now, if you could just go into a couple of the symptoms that you are having before just to let everybody know.

Eric: They were classic Bell’s palsy symptoms. They were the paralysis of one side of my face, the left side. I had lost my sense of taste, my ability to speak clearly, my left eye would not close. Everything was paralyzed. I had pain in the ear bone above my left ear and I had a complete inability to chew or process food, so I was drinking out of a straw.

I was unable to talk, unable to close my eyes and unable to eat regular food.

Dr. Califf: And in just five weeks, all of your symptoms were gone.

Eric: Every one of them, one at a time, he started to return to normality. But that was multiple times a week. So, it was a very dedicated and consistent application of acupuncture.

Dr. Califf: and what are your thoughts on the treatments, like how they went if you were to tell someone who’s questioning or wondering if they should try this? What would you tell them?

Eric: I would say that I was very frightened because I was unaware of what acupuncture was. Dr. Califf was exceptional in his bedside manners and sort of walking me through and making me comfortable so that I didn’t have to be afraid. We started off gently and just went into the complete treatment. I found out that not only was it easy that I actually enjoyed it. It was relaxing, the lights were dimmed, the music was put on and I was able just to be very tranquil and that helped in a very large way the effectiveness of the treatment.

Dr. Califf: Wow, thank you for sharing this and we were just so proud of how far you’ve come along with this and I’m just so happy that we’ve been able to help you. We really appreciate your time in sharing this with everybody.

Eric: Thank you. I couldn’t endorse acupuncture and Dr. Califf, enough.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine Creates A Healthy Skin

Ever bask in the clarity and beauty of freshwater river or a clear lake, or shudder at the smell and sight of a stagnant pond? Our complexion and skin, like water, mirror our general internal health. When there are dermatological problems arising, they arise due to imbalances inside the body caused by exposure to a poor lifestyle/diet, stress, and environmental toxins. The largest organ of the body is the skin. It functions as a very important barrier between the external and internal environments.

According to traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, our skin is the first line of defense of our body protecting the organs, blood, muscles, bones, and sinews from external pathogenic factors (that can either be emotional and/or physical). The Wei Qi or Defensive Qi sits atop the most external layer of the dermis, serving as some sort of coat of armor against undesirable infiltrators. For a practitioner of TCM, the changes in the skin (presence of carbuncles/swelling, texture, color, etc.), when closely observed, can provide us with a wealth of medical information.

The color of a person’s face color will indicate the presence of Shen (consciousness/spirit), Blood, and Chi. A lusterless complexion tells the TCM practitioner that these vital elements are in disharmony and need to be nourished through herbal formulations and diet. A lustrous face means that the person’s Shen, Blood, and Chi are strong. For instance, the duller the complexion, the more chronic is the imbalance.

The Importance of the Lung System and the Physiology of the Skin in TCM

Based on the principles of TCM, the Lung system governs the diffusion of Wei/Defensive Qi to nourish and warm the various layers of the skin, and to control the closing and opening of pores. The pores ideally open during exercise or in warmer weather to eliminate toxins and heat from the body; when they’re exposed to pathogens or cold weather, the pores tend to close. Defensive Qi will not properly function and pores may remain open when there is a weakness in the Lung system. This gives the pathogenic elements permission to infiltrate the inside of the body leading to various conditions, such as the common cold even hives or urticaria. Eating healthy, breathing in fresh air, and exercise keep the Wei Qi strong. There can also be an issue in regard to the distribution of body fluids (synovial, tears, saliva, sweat, etc.), known as the “moist-liquid or Jin Ye. To give the fluids the opportunity to nourish the skin and its underlying layers, these fluids need to flow properly (though healthy Chi). As the body needs to retain a certain level of internal moisture to properly function, a deficiency in fluids/Jin Ye, can lead to various conditions. Some of the problems that may appear as a result of this fluid inadequacy can include: nausea/vomiting (dry Abdomen), swelling, reduced joint mobility, dry skin and eyes, and edema.

A reputable practitioner of TCM will use a Western diagnosis or condition simply as a tool of reference. The important thing is to always come up with a precise TCM diagnosis based on pattern differentiation of symptoms and signs. In TCM, the same pattern can appear as a wide variety of Western conditions; also, a single Western condition can have several (up to 6 or 8) diagnostic patterns of differentiation. For best results, a treatment that is customized (diet, herbs, and acupuncture in Overland Park) is required.

Spices/Herbs: cilantro, chive, parsley, garlic, rosemary, basil, cinnamon, ginger, anise, dandelion, caraway, black peppercorn, cardamom, coriander, cumin, clove, fennel, dill, mint family (basil, spearmint, peppermint, etc.)

Foods from the Metal element group to help maintain the strength of the Lung system: radish, garlic/onion family, horseradish, romaine lettuce, rutabaga/turnip, taro, parsnip, kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens.

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The Use Of Ear Seeds And Auricular Acupuncture During IVF Therapy

In many parts of the world, people have heard of the word TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) or acupuncture. For the uninitiated, acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine used to guaranty the smooth movement of energy in the body to restore the body back to its natural state of balance. An innately Chinese alternative form of treatment, acupuncture uses hair thin needles as a way to balance the natural energy of the body. A practitioner can locate unbalanced energy through the ears, hands, legs, arms, and feet, and help initiate the process towards balancing energy. Traditional Chinese Medicine integrates the use of therapeutic exercise, medical herbs, massage, food therapy, and acupuncture. Another treatment process that Chinese Medicine uses is through the use of ear seeds.

One easily accessible part of the body to use in acupuncture therapy is the ear. Fremont acupuncture treatment of the ear is called auricular acupuncture or auriculotherapy which can help rebalance the body and flow of energy. Auricular acupuncture uses acupuncture points on the auricle or outer ear to help treat conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, and even weight loss traditionally through the use of needles. What is even less known among people is the use of ear seeds in auricular acupuncture. This therapy not only is used in conjunction with acupuncture but can also be used as a standalone treatment to temporarily reduce and/or alleviate ailments or pain to help with Western modes of treatments such as IUI or IVF.

What are Ear Seeds?

In auricular acupuncture therapy, small pellets known as Ear seeds that are derived from the Vaccaria plant are believed to boost the positive impacts of the therapy. This helps extend the effectiveness of the therapy for a longer period of time. The seeds are taped on the ear using a piece of adhesive tape. The seeds may be left in the ear for a few days to two weeks. Certain practitioners utilize ear seeds on patients to help relieve conditions such as anxiety and stress between treatments.

Can Ear Seeds be used during an IVF procedure?

During IVF, ear seeds can be used to help reduce anxiety levels and control stress which can play a major role in regulating ovulation, follicular growth, and ovarian functions.

Studies that back the outcomes gained by acupuncture therapy may be caused by changes in the hormonal signals from the brain to the ovary. Auricular acupuncture allows for the activation to be sent direct to the ovary.

It is believed that along with acupuncture, ear seeds ‘can improve the rate of success of Western medicine while simultaneously slowing down the clock on aging endocrine systems of women.’

New studies support the application of ear seeds at certain reproductive acupoints ‘and when activated by the patient during the entire day from around egg recovery to embryo transfer, researched proved that in the group treated with ear acupressure, ratio of clinical pregnancy, ratio of implantation, and ratio of live birth rate were all substantially higher than the fake ear control group and acupressure group.’

Moreover, ‘zero side-effects were reported in both groups during the period of study, proving that auricular acupuncture is a non-invasive and safe intervention that can enhance the results of IVF patients and lower the related anxiety levels.’

If you have a fear of needles and acupuncture does not appeal to you because of that, you can ask your practitioner if he uses ear seeds which can be a viable alternative to allow you to integrate Traditional Chinese Medicine to enhance and support the IVF procedure. Practitioners use ear seeds on some patients and those patients have reported that their side effects and levels of stress levels from the hormonal therapies such as bloating, insomnia, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, and stress are significantly reduced.

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Things That Can Sharpen Your Memory Concentration And Focus

People desire to have better memory concentration and focus. In a lot of instances, they don’t know how or the best way to obtain it. Better concentration and memory can actually give a person an advantage in a lot of situations. Whether that be in school, work, or even in your love life.

Memory loss is commonly attributed to health problems, stress, aging, or other issues. Fortunately, whatever the reason, there are suggestions and tips one may want to implement in their daily activities to help enhance it.

To improve memory concentration, the most important tip is actually the most basic. Your memory is like a muscle. It will degenerate and not be as strong as it once if you do not use it.

The same thing relates to memory. You need to utilize your brain and your memory to keep it in tip top shape. There are a variety of ways to do this. Memorize a favorite bible scripture or a poem.

Learn and read new things each day. Try to reconnect back to certain past memories that have made you smile. They will all help you in improving your memory concentration.

You can also think about doing brain puzzles such as mathematical problems, crossword puzzles, or sudoku. They can help keep your memory sharp as well.

Exercise is another activity that can help boost your memory concentration. Exercise pumps in more oxygen to your brain which helps keep your memory at maximum function.

If you don’t want it to be, you don’t need to do anything requiring hard work. Pilates, tai chi, yoga, stretching, and exercises are not considered strenuous exercise, but they still can enhance the transfer blood and oxygen to your brain. It also increases blood flow and energy, improve your mood, and start you off on a great day!

Those are just a few recommendations to help increase your memory concentration. Actually, there are many others, but the ones mentioned here can be considered a good starting point. Keep in mind that the results will not happen overnight. Through continuous practice, you will be on your way to sharper memory focus and function.

Acupuncture Plus
11851 Jollyville Rd #102
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 453-5352

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What You Should Know About Gua Sha Therapy

Most of us have never heard of gua sha — but if you experience persistent joint or muscle pain, especially in the shoulder, neck, or back, this hands-on drug-free form of treatment is definitely worth knowing about.

Gua sha therapy is an East Asian healing procedure that’s commonly administered by an acupuncturist, although it does not require the use of needles. The acupuncturist rather uses a handheld round-edged, tool on a specific part of the body to “press-stroke” (stroke while administering mild pressure) the skin over and over without breaking the skin.

The aim of gua sha therapy in Marlton is to relieve what in Chinese medicine is known as ‘blood stagnation.’ This symbolizes a form of capillary constriction near the surface of the skin and is related to persistent or fixed pain and occasionally, illness. Unblocking congested blood enhances blood flow to the organs, tissues, and muscles directly underneath the area being treated. Instant positive changes in mobility, stiffness, and are experienced by the patient.

According to Arya Nielsen, PhD, author of the book Gua Sha – A Traditional Technique for Modern Practice, the press-stroking movements in gua sha therapy force red blood cells to escape the tiny capillaries and enter into nearby tissues. There is no external bleeding and the capillaries are not broken, but the petechiae, (the several tiny reddish spots of blood) appear just underneath the surface of the skin, giving the site of treatment a rashlike appearance, (the petechiae is not the same as bruising, since according to Dr. Nielsen, a bruise symbolizes traumatic damage to the tissue and can take a week or more to heal; with gua sha however, the tissue remains undamaged). The red blood cells instantly start to be reabsorbed. The ensuing collapse of hemoglobin (the pigment in the red blood cells that contains oxygen) amplifies the reaction of a certain enzyme and the bile pigments biliverdin and bilirubin—all of which have anti-inflammatory qualities and activate the immune system, encouraging healing within a few days.

For those who are interested in trying gua sha therapy, you should know that it is usually administered on the hips, shoulder, neck, and back although from time to time it can be used on other parts of the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, the treated area is sometimes the painful spot itself, but other times, it is a body part that is associated with a certain meridian (body channel) or organ.

One session of gua sha session therapy typically lasts 10 minutes or so. The practitioner first palpates a body part in order to evaluate whether the tissue has ‘sha’ or stagnation. The site of treatment is then emolliated with a product like Badger Balm or oil.

The press-stroking comes next. The Chinese traditionally utilized a soup spoon with smooth edge; nowadays, however, practitioners often use a handheld device that looks like a metal cap with a smooth lip. When one undergoes gua sha therapy, there is a real albeit minimal risk of exposure to blood-borne microorganisms, gua sha instruments should therefore not be reused on other patients. According to Dr. Nielsen, practitioners often use simple and disposable metal caps, instead of the antiquated bone, stone, jade, coin, or spoon tool. Each specific narrow area of skin called “stroke-line,” is stroked with pressure six to ten times. The skin simply turns pink when there is no blood stagnation –the gua sha, causes the tiny red petechiae to appear where there is stagnation.

Dr. Nielsen says that gua sha feels invigorating to the patient. If done properly it will not hurt. She said that the treatment can also be administered on children and babies without any problem. The elevated red marks on the skin quickly start to change and dissipate, and within a few days are completely gone. After a session, it is best to drink water and moderate one’s activity. After a treatment, patients should avoid any hard labor, feasting, fasting, sex, alcohol, or drugs for the rest of the day. In other words, they should “chill.”

The amount of treatments required varies and depends on the condition or conditions of the patient. Some patients may feel lasting relief within just one or two treatments. Patients suffering from chronic conditions may need three sessions a week apart, followed by treatments every other week, as needed. As with most medical treatments, the treatment cost may vary based on the location and training of the practitioner. Call your insurance company and see if they pay for the treatment if it covers healthcare by an acupuncturist.

Gua sha is a very safe form of treatment for people suffering from serious conditions like diabetes. It can be administered on people taking anticoagulant drugs and for pregnant women although for safety’s sake, it is important that they seek treatment from a licensed qualified practitioner who specializes in gua sha. Acupuncturists often have such training, as do some massage therapists and physical therapists. To look for a qualified practitioner, Dr. Nielsen recommends phoning or going to the office of licensed acupuncturists near your area and ask them about the amount of experience they have with the therapy. You can find acupuncturists near your areas and ascertain their licensure through your state’s public health department, office of professional regulators, consumer affairs office, or similar agency.

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The Triple Burner Organ-Energy System

The Triple burner organ-energy system, which is not acknowledged in Western physiology, is known as the ‘Minister of Dredges and Dykes.’ It governs the transformation and movement of various fluids and solids throughout the system and for the circulation and production of protective energy (wei chi) and nourishing energy (ying chi). The Triple burner is not a single self-contained organ, but is instead a system of functional energy involved in the regulation of the activities of other organs. It is made up of three parts, called ‘burners’, each related with one of the three main cavities of the body: pelvis, stomach, and thorax. According to an ancient Chinese medical document, “the Lower Burner controls elimination, the Middle Burner controls transformation, and the Upper Burner controls intake”.

The Lower Burner starts from the pyloric valve, the anus and the urinary tract. It is responsible for absorbing nutrients, segregating the pure from the impure products of digestion, and eliminating liquid and solid wastes. It brings into harmony, the functions of the small intestines, large intestines, bladder, kidney, and liver and also regulates reproductive and sexual functions.

The Middle Burner starts from the entrance to the abdomen all the way down to its exit at the pyloric valve. It is responsible for digestion by harmonizing the functions of the pancreas, spleen, and stomach. The Middle Burner is responsible for drawing out nourishing energy from fluids and foods and distributing them through the meridian system to the lungs and other parts of the body.

The Upper Burner starts from the base of the tongue to the entrance to the abdomen and controls the intake of fluids, food, and air. It brings into harmony the functions of the lungs and heart, and regulates the allocation of protective energy to the external surfaces of the body, and controls respiration.

Western researchers believe that the Triple Burner is related to the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that normalizes blood pressure, heartbeat, body temperature, fluid balance, digestion, appetite, and other basic autonomous functions.


Related organ: Pericardium
Peak Hours: 9pm-11pm
Color: orange red
Functions: normalizes transportation and transformation of bodily fluids,
Physical Branches: facial complexion, sweat, throat, tongue, blood

Sanjiao is made up of two Chinese words, ‘San’ means three, ‘Jiao’ means ‘burn’. Originally, it is referred to as the ‘Triple Burner’, but ‘Triple Heater’ and ‘Triple Warmer’ are also commonly used.

Psycho-Emotional Aspects of the Triple Burner

The Triple Burners are deemed to be “intermediaries” or Ambassadors for the Yuan (Original) Chi of the body. In psychological terms, they can be used to move Chi and cure depression resulting in Liver Chi stagnation. When the Triple Burners, that normalize the consciousness, are full, the Mind’s intent becomes kindhearted and benevolent and the consciousness becomes stable. People also link the Triple Burners with the Pericardium and Heart which are impacted by the emotion of joy. When the heart’s energy is pure, guiltless, and strong, and the thoughts and urges of people are at peace, then the energy of the sexual essence or Jing of the boy will spread into the Triple Burners, and the Blood may flourish within the vessels of individuals. If you fail to allow to heat your “fire of desire” and combine with the Triple Burners’ energy, your sexual essence will overflow, combining itself with the Mingmen energy and may leave the body through the reproductive tissues and organs. This may result in depletion of Chi and Jing.

The Triple Burner Internal Trajectories, Acupuncture Points, and Channel Pathway

Starting on the ring (fourth) finger, by the outside corner of the nail, the channel of the triple burner passes between the fourth and fifth fingers’ knuckles to the wrist. From there it rises between the forearm‘s two bones (the ulna and radius), through the elbow’s tip, and up the arm’s back to the shoulder. It joins the governing vessel channels and small intestine behind the top of the shoulder. Then it ascends over the shoulder to the region of the collarbone, internally goes down to the pericardium, and then to the middle and lower burners and abdomen. Re-appearing at the collarbone from the chest, the channel rises around the back of the ear to the side of the neck. One branch internally ascends to meet the forehead where the gallbladder channel is located, then goes down to join the channel of the small intestine on the cheek. The cursory branch continues to the ear front and across the eyebrow’s outer corner, where it meets the channel of the gallbladder once again.

The Triple Warmer Meridian’s Internal Trajectories

After passing the arms’ lateral aspect from the ring finger, the triple warmer meridian travels to St 12:

[It] enters ST-12, then down to CV-17, diffuses into the chest, and goes down into the pericardium. The Triple Warmer then goes down over the diaphragm, permeates and rounds down through the triple warmers. A branch beginning at CV-17 reaches up to St 12.

The meridian is like a pervasive spray when it “diffuses” into the chest. The stream becomes less dense and widens, the scenario is one of rain moistening and covering instead of a river passing through. One can also observe that the meridian does not wrap the pericardium spirally. Instead, it goes down as it is filtered through after diffusing into the chest in CV-17.

This concept assists us to observe the relationship of the breathing process to the triple warmer. Probably, this connection to the movement of breath and breath itself goes down into the belly button is associated with the action of “diffusion into the chest.” Upon inhalation, air is sucked into the lungs; air then mingles with the triple warmer pathway once its inside the chest (inside the lungs), which is diffusing into the chest. Then, it is filtered down into the pericardium. From there it may circle downward through the triple warmers. This downward motion via the triple warmers may well be the means by which the Chi of breathing travels underneath the umbilicus where it is a vital ingredient in the nourishment of the source and the creation of the source Chi.

Dr. Hailing Fu is a doctor or Oriental medicine and the founder of Ling’s Acupuncture, Inc., in Orlando, FL. She has also served as professor and clinic director at the Florida College of Integrative Medicine in Central Florida.

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