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Acupuncture and its auxiliary techniques

Written by Simon Want | Tuesday, 30 March 2021

chinese medicine

Many people already know about Acupuncture and the use of needles in Chinese medicine. What many people do not realise is that there are a variety of other implements that Acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners have in their tool kit.

These same tools are utilised by our Acupuncture students as part of their clinical training, but we thought it's time to let you in on the secret! What are these lesser-known (but equally as important) tools, you ask? Read on below...

Chinese herbal medicine is based on the same Chinese medicine theory and principles of acupuncture. This includes a holistic approach to understanding normal function and disease processes. It also focuses much on the prevention of illness. Chinese herbal medicine can be used as a sole therapy on its own, or in combination with acupuncture.

Electro acupuncture is a relatively new adaption of regular acupuncture. It typically involves electro-stimulation to the needles often via a battery-powered unit that delivers mild pulses of electric current. The frequency, intensity and pattern of the pulses delivered through the needles can be altered accordingly. It is commonly used to provide extra stimulation to the acupuncture points.

Cupping involves the creation of a relative vacuum over an area of skin that pulls Qi and blood into an area. It can be applied traditionally with glass cups and a flame which creates this vacuum before it is applied to the body. Other forms utilise plastic cups with a pump or silicon cups which can be squeezed to create the suction. Cupping is considered to restore the flow of Qi and blood, and is commonly used to clear local stagnation.

Moxibustion involves the burning of the herb, Artemesia Vulgaris (commonly known as mugwort or moxa) either on or near the acupuncture points of the body. Moxa stimulates Qi and blood flow, warms, adds yang to the system and dispels cold and damp. It is most useful in treating situations of deficient Qi or yang, or in any condition where cold is a predominant feature (often easily distinguished if the condition worsens with cold).

Gua sha is a manual technique used by Chinese medicine practitioners. Gua sha is performed by rubbing a smooth-edged tool across the skin. A positive response is reddening of the skin and is commonly used to treat heat conditions.

Tui na (Chinese remedial massage) is a manual technique used as a therapy for a range of conditions, beyond just the muscular system. Unlike western massage, tui na is a dry massage applied through the clothing or towels and involves applying massage techniques to the meridians and points to stimulate their function.

Simon Want

Simon’s journey with Endeavour began as a student, studying the BHSc Acupuncture. Upon graduation, he began teaching and then progressed to an Academic Clinic Coordinator of Chinese Medicine.

Along with his BHSs in Acupuncture from Endeavour, Simon also holds a Bachelor of Biomedical Science from Griffith University and a Masters of Applied Science (Chinese Herbal Medicine) with RMIT University. Most recently, he completed his Graduate Certificate in Education with QUT.

With seven years’ worth of clinical experience as a practicing Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, he is a passionate member of the natural health community and looks forward to contributing his knowledge for many years to come.

Read more by Simon Want