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Acupuncture is quite literally the insertion of fine filiform needles into specific defined points on the body. The points are part of the Chinese acupuncture channel system and have been documented and used for over two and half thousand years.
The acupuncture needle is a tool to influence these channel systems which have clearly defined, specific and broad influence over body physiology from a Chinese medicine perspective.
A 2019 Systematic review: Safety and side effects of Acupuncture in Australia, published in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine found that;
‘Acupuncture is generally a safe modality and serious adverse events after treatment are uncommon when supported with well-established guidelines and practiced by licensed, qualified practitioners.
The main reported side effects of acupuncture tends to be spotting (tiny bleed on needle removal) or minor bruising. Fainting, nausea, residual discomfort or altered energy levels can occur but are rare.
I am only ever a phone call away if you ever have any concerns following a treatment.
Chinese medicine (Acupuncture) is a highly regulated profession here in Australia. All practitioners are now required to have completed a university degree, register with APHRA, be a member of a professional association and be a qualified first aider.
Yes, acupuncture is considered a safe therapy during pregnancy and has become a popular alternative for women seeking assistance with pregnancy associated health concerns. Positive research papers related to reduced labour times, improved cervical ripening, correcting breech presentations, reduction in nausea, improved pain relief and successful labour induction have been published. On-going research is required in this area.
The following information is from WHO: Benchmarks for the practice of acupuncture
Contraindications for acupuncture
4.2.1 By disease and syndrome
Acupuncture treatment should not be administered to people with a disturbance of blood coagulation.
Acupuncture treatment should not be administered to people with unstable epilepsy.
4.2.2 By condition
Acupuncture treatment should not be administered to infants on the fontanelle before it has closed.
Acupuncture treatment should not be administered to the lower abdomen or lumbosacral region in
women who are pregnant, to avoid contraction of the uterus.
4.2.3 By treatment region
Acupuncture treatment should not be administered to body regions where there are ulcers, sores or scars (my note: fresh scars, acupuncture is used for the treatment of scar tissue)
The depth of needle insertion should be strictly controlled for acupoints located close to vital blood
vessels, nerve trunks and vital organs.
There are a number of precautions for acupuncture, before, during and after treatment, that professional acupuncturists are guided by and I’m aware of these.
There are two main frameworks for the explanation of the mechanism of acupuncture, those are; the western scientific model and the east Asian model. Briefly, the western model is based on the ability of acupuncture to affect the nervous system….. https://chriskresser.com/chinese-medicine-demystified-part-iv-how-acupuncture-works/
Acupuncture in the east asian model fits into a comprehensive and whole understanding of a human beings place in the broader environment and the internal and external interactions (Qi) that occur between both. Unfortunately a translation in the early days of acupunctures transmission to the west meant that the Chinese word ‘Qi’ was translated as ‘energy’ (and it is certainly one meaning). A certain focus of acupuncture practice tended to negate the practical and very physical medicine that it is for the ‘meridian’ (energy) understanding.https://chriskresser.com/chinese-medicine-demystified-part-iii-the-energy-meridian-model-debunked/
Modern research is now demonstrating that the ancient Chinese physicians while certainly having an energetic understanding of all phenomena also had an uncanny ability to decipher real body physiology and how to influence that physiology within an integrated framework. Pls see the following resources for more info.
I’ve included links in the resources section to quality articles that go a bit deeper into these models.
There are two possible types of evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness, quantitative (clinical trials) and qualitative (everything else).
The short answer is that acupuncture has been observed to create various effects on the body. Rigorous scientific trials due to their complexity often fail to conclude in favour or against acupuncture but many positive evidence from various trials have been published. Some scientific sceptics tend to say there is little or no measurable effect while other scientists, researchers and medical professionals proclaim its’ various mechanisms and potential for healing.
While the hardcore scientific debate continues hopefully the quantitative evidence that exists along with qualitative evidence, including a vast array of case studies and anecdotal evidence by millions of people over thousands of years in hundreds of countries will encourage you to give acupuncture a go and see what it can do for you.
You’ll feel it! It may be subtle. Effects and changes can occur gradually over time, or it may be more immediate. Depending on your issue I’ll give you a timeframe, if you feel improvement isn’t happening or not at the pace you would like, I’m upfront and we can discuss your options openly.
Sometimes as I go through my notes with a client who has been having treatment for awhile, I may mention an issue they brought up when they first came in, to their surprise they hadn’t even noticed but it was improved or no longer an issue. Because acupuncture is based on treating the person, global improvements are often reported by clients e.g. improved sleep.
Acupuncture needles are as fine as a hair, so most people won’t feel much.
Having said that, everybody experiences needle insertion differently and a person’s anticipation may even heighten any feeling. Acupuncture can elicit a variety of sensations, including dull aching, warmth, tingling, pulling, water flowing etc.
I always gauge my client’s potential anticipation of acupuncture and work through it by various means, including distraction, breathing or heavy pressure to the area to help minimise any potential pain feeling.
By far the most common statement I hear from first time acupuncture clients is – ’oh is that it’! The anticipation was much worse than the actual sensation.
Most people find acupuncture to be extremely relaxing and feel rejuvenated afterwards.
No, it’s not. In Australia Acupuncturist is a protected title. Therefore, only qualified professionals who are registered with AHPRA can call themselves by this title.
Acupuncture is based on a comprehensive, coherent and interrelated channel system within a Chinese medicine framework and its dynamic influence on the whole body.
Acupuncture includes needle techniques on muscles that bring about the same effect as dry needling, however this is but one small aspect of the overall scope and power of acupuncture.
The purpose of dry needling or the technique used in dry needling is to improve or restore function to a muscle. The technique itself is based on insertion and rotation of the needle into specific muscle fibres of various muscles to help release and alter that muscles tone and can produce instant and lasting results when performed correctly.
A legal loophole in many countries has allowed non-Acupuncturists to use this technique and incorporate the use of dry needling on clients, often with very little training hours undertaken.
An example, I undertook over 700 supervised clinical hours to become an Acupuncturist, a dry needler can obtain a certification with as little as 16 hours i.e. a 2-day course (for those with proven anatomical training backgrounds).
You can make your own choice but I recommend, for your own safety, to only receive needling from a registered and qualified Acupuncturist.
See also FAQ – ‘What is Dry Needling’ (below).
Never, absolutely not. Acupuncture is a highly regulated health profession and only single use sterilised acupuncture needles are used and disposed of in the correct manner.
I work in a similar style to a GP, people come to see me for a variety of health issues and concerns. I do have some special areas of interest , see HERE.(LINK NEEDED)
Acupuncture & Chinese medicine does not seek to ‘cure’ illness, instead it works by helping to bring your body/mind back into its natural homeostatic state (balance).
Just as water tends to find the lowest point in a natural way, once we begin to tap into and activate your body’s innate defence and restorative system we’re aiming to induce a positive and natural knock on effect.
A symptom is a signal that a bodily system in either under or over functioning, while it’s important to address symptoms, especially in the acute phase, what’s more pressing is that the root of the issue is addressed so that the problem does not re-occur.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture excel at this.
You can find some of the more common reasons for coming to Kintsugi Therapies HERE.
I also have a network of other experts that I can refer you on to if I believe you’ll be better served, these include, Western MD, Physio, Osteo, Chiro, Kinesiologist, Clinical Pilates instructor, Tai chi instructor, Yoga instructor, Personal trainer, Naturopath, Macrobiotic counsellor, Dietician and more.
The World Health Organisation recommends acupuncture for these conditions http://digicollection.org/hss/en/d/Js4926e/5.html
If you’d like to get a bit nerdy on details, please read WHO’S complete Review & Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials
If you’re still unsure if acupuncture can help you, please drop me a line HERE. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Acupuncture like most regulated health interventions is based around a diagnostic framework, except this framework is based on the Chinese medicine model.
A full case history is taken in relation to your health concern but leaves room to get to know you as a person and your unique circumstances.
I want you to feel comfortable to let me know what’s going on and what you need.
You can expect a detailed enquiry and questions, some may seem unrelated to your condition but within our model it has relevance.
Other diagnostic tools we use are, observing your tongue, assessing your pulse and most likely some body palpation.
In an initial consult we will have a discussion around findings and aims for therapy going forward.
On a follow up appointment, we will discuss any changes and base the treatment on the collective information to that point.
Acupuncture points are chosen based on your presentation and a treatment carried out (needles inserted).
Initial session including consultation can take up to 80 mins. Follow up sessions are 40-60 mins.
The medias representation of acupuncture is often based on half-clad bodies with a porcupine’s array of needles in a person’s back.
The reality is that most acupuncture points are accessible if you are wearing loose fitting clothing. Acupuncture points on the back are commonly used, however, I will always drape appropriately when using these points.
Your privacy and personal comfort will always be top priority to me.
The number of needles used during each session may vary but I aim for minimum needles, maximum effect.
As with everything Chinese medicine, it’s a balancing act to get it right.
If you have any relevant scans, imaging, testing etc. that you’d like share please feel free to bring in.
I also suggest having eaten a light meal 1-2 hours before your scheduled session or at least avoid treatment on an empty stomach.
Please try to let me know in advance if you’re nervous about acupuncture and I can take a little extra time to reassure you.
Otherwise just come on in and we’ll go through your reasons for seeking acupuncture and how you hope to improve your health.
It’s best to wear comfortable, loose clothing.
Treating certain body areas may require you to remove some clothing items to allow comprehensive treatment.
You will always be asked if you’re comfortable with this and if so, I will respect your privacy and appropriate draping will always be applied.
It will depend on your body on that day, at that time.
For some people it takes a little time to come around, you may feel a bit ‘out of it’, tired or even feel like you want to sleep. If so, I advise waiting sometime before driving.
Or you may feel energized or ‘in the flow’.
If we’re trying to address pain patterns or improve mobility then we will look at your baseline before and after treatment to see if there is a noticeable improvement, sometimes this occurs post treatment or in the days between sessions.
Most people experience a deep sense of relaxation and well-being following acupuncture.
Generally, rest & relax and allow your body time to readjust post treatment.
Avoid exposure to cold or wind in general.
I recommend drinking some warm water or a non-stimulating warm drink (calming herbal tea).
If you must work by all means do (life goes on right!) but try to avoid stressful or aggravating situations if possible.
I may also recommend some stretches for you depending on your issue.
You may feel improvement from the very first session. However, because every patient case varies, timelines can be provided following an initial assessment.
I use the following as a rule of thumb (i.e., guideline only)
- For more minor, non-chronic injuries or movement challenges, we would hope to see dramatic improvement within 4-6 sessions.
- For more major or chronic injuries or movement issues this extends 10-12 sessions.
- For severe or long-term chronic issues, it may take up to 20 sessions to see a significant resolution of your symptoms.
Reviewing progress is an essential part of the treatment process and is carried out on an ongoing basis.
I don’t believe so; I believe ongoing illness is expensive.
At some point perhaps we reach a stage where we realise that band aid on top of band aid, a pill for every ill is not sustainable for our bodies or our pockets.
Acupuncture seeks to bring about change at the root level of disease. While I can’t guarantee success in every case, I can promise that I will make every effort to make it a worthwhile experience for you. You can check out fees page here LINK
I also offer pre-paid package acupuncture treatments (e.g. 3/5/10 pack) to make session more cost effective for you.
Most private health funds offer rebates to their clients for acupuncture treatments.
Please check with your individual provider if you are in any doubt.
HICAPS on-site claim is available with your health fund card.
Don’t have your card on you?, that’s ok, I can provide you with an invoice with which you can claim.
I understand that sometimes it can be difficult to keep your appointment. To be fair to me and to other patients who may need appointments, I request that you give at least 24 hours’ notice if you need to change or cancel your appointment.
If you cancel or change your appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice you may be charged a late cancellation fee.) LINK NEEDED
If you miss an appointment, you may be charged the full consultation fee.
REMEDIAL MASSAGE QUESTIONS
I mainly offer Remedial/Sports & Deep tissue massage
I also have training in Tui Na (pronounced Twee-nah) massage which is Chinese medicine based and uses a combination of massage, acupressure and other forms of body manipulation.
I generally combine these styles when treating for musculoskeletal issues. I also find that most people benefit from elements of relaxation massage interspersed throughout a session but I can tailor more or less remedial depending on your needs.
Remedial massage is rehabilitative and restorative, and thus appropriate for when you have aches, chronic pains, knots or just about any discomfort emanating from your muscles or soft tissues. Unlike sports massage, this massaging technique utilizes deep tissue techniques to target problem areas caused by any activity.
Used for both preventative and restorative purposes, sports massage utilises free-flowing movements to help circulate blood flow, flush the muscles and loosen tight or injured areas. It’s the ideal massage-type for anybody involved in any sport, not just professionals, and is just as vital ahead of a game as it is afterwards. Sports massage is divided into pre and post sports activity.
A pre-sports massage will focus on ‘flushing’ the muscles, which means warming up the tissue to ensure good blood supply, injury prevention and optimal performance. Usually techniques used are lighter, faster and used to warm and key the muscles ready for activity.
A post sports massage is used after the sporting event but aims to flush out the toxins accumulated during exertion, such as lactic and uric acid and encouraging blood flow to damaged areas in need of remedying. The aim is to assist in muscle recovery.
I understand, I’ve been there too!
From the light as a feather touch to pounding away on a person like a piece of meat, massage experiences can be fraught. Ultimately either of these extremes comes down to one thing, a lack of communication both verbally and bodily by the therapist.
I tell people that we’re aiming for the ‘Goldilocks’ place in massage i.e just the right amount of pressure in the right locations. Other clients have called it ‘the good pain’, your body is being challenged but it’s therapeutic and you know it’s doing you good.
I treat and communicate with all clients throughout massage to understand their needs. I’m also listening carefully with my hands to subtle body feedback from you. Both these aspects guide my massage practice and make for a professional and satisfying massage for you.
Regardless of your reason for coming, you can expect to be listened to. Depending on your issue we’ll have a discussion, establish your primary concern or reason for massage. Following some questions we may do a some simple movement tests. Once we establish the goals for the treatment we can begin.
Following treatment we can have a brief chat about any outcomes or feedback and/or I can give you an estimate on potential follow ups needed. Or, if you just needed a one off as a re-set, no problem, you’re good to go.
Generally, some clothing will need to be removed to access body areas for massage. Appropriate draping will always be used.
If for any reason you are not comfortable to remove any clothing items you can let me know and we can work around it.
Many private health funds offer rebates to their clients for remedial massage treatments.
Please check with your individual provider if you are in any doubt.
HICAPS on-site claim is available with your health fund card.
Don’t have your card on you?, that’s ok, I can provide you with an invoice with which you can claim.
CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE QUESTIONS
CM Formulas have been used throughout the centuries to assist with all manner of health concerns. Please ask me about your concern and if CM herbal can benefit you and your particular issue.
In practice there are 3 main reasons for taking herbal formulas.
- As a preventative medicine, some formulas are considered more tonic like, to boost immunity, assist with circulation etc.,
- As an assistant to symptomatic relief of certain conditions e.g. colds/flus, pain etc.
- As a root treatment to address the underlying cause of the issue and resolve the problem.
Much like any therapeutic intake, a herbal consultation centres around thorough questioning related to your current health, your lifestyle, health history etc. I may also assess your pulse and look at your tongue as diagnostic indicators. All this information helps us to identify your key health concerns and is used diagnostically to choose a suitable herbal formula.
Based on all the information gathered and the Chinese medicine diagnostic process, a herbal formula is selected and prescribed. A formula may initially be given for a week or two and signs /symptoms closely monitored for any changes.
There is no one answer to this question as it depends on many varying factors. Primary factors are;
Acute versus chronic?
Acute issues will usually resolve in a shorter time span.
Chronic issues can take weeks to months to see improvement.
The type of condition you are being treated for.
Certain conditions such as skin issues are often stubborn and require staged herbal treatment i.e. various formulas to be used at various stages. Other issues such as pain may resolve more rapidly.
Could be anything from an irritant/aggravating factor that has not been identified e.g. an intolerance to a type of food to an adverse reaction to a formula or specific herb (rare) and the need to adjust the formula.
The desired outcome.
Is the strategy to relieve some symptoms or try to address a deeper more entrenched problem.
Overall common sense is used in determining the duration or course of treatment. I always aim to work closely with you and provide the best advice possible. All formulas can be modified (herbs and/or dosage).
CM herbal is safe to take with most medications.
During the initial consultation I will ask you to list all medications and supplements that you are currently taking. I investigate any medication listed for potential contraindications for use with herbs.
Medication information is revisited over the course of treatment to ensure it is always up to date. The usual protocol is for any herbal medicine to be taken at least 2 hours before or after food or other medications.
Full and clear written instructions will always be provided on the label.
Most definitely. Acupuncture and CM herbal medicine often complement each other very well in treatment and are regularly used together to address health concerns. All other physical therapies, physio, chiro etc. are compatible with CM herbal medicine.
If you are taking western herbs, seeing a naturopath or homeopath you should discuss your decision to take CM herbs with them also. The same goes for your regular GP or specialist.
I use an Australian based ‘practitioner only’ herbal dispensary company to order all herbal formulas and creams. Once an order is placed you should receive it by post within two working days.
Some practitioners prescribe raw herbs that are required to be boiled and drank as a tea/soup.
In today’s busy world and in this demographic of Sydney’s east I find that most people prefer the convenience of either taking a ready-made liquid extract (contains ethanol <5%) or in powder form taken with a small quantity of water.
Compliance is a key factor is getting results with herbs, therefore the easier it is for you to take the better the chance you will take it and begin to see improvements. All prescriptions come with a list of ingredients, dosage and clear instructions for use on each bottle.
My supplier’s product range is fully certified based on Australian (& EU) regulations and guidelines and is in strict compliance with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Speciies of Wild Flora and Fauna).
Each substance and finished product is accompanied by Certificate of Analysis (CoA) which is proof that the herbs are suitable for human consumption and medicines.
For herbal formula liquid extract (including postage) allow approx $9 p/day.
CUPPING THERAPY QUESTIONS
Cupping is an ancient healing therapy, it has recorded use in China and Egypt for thousands of years. Our modern cups are mainly made from glass, plastic or silicone. A suction force is generated inside the cup by various methods, flame (glass), pump (plastic) or pressing force (silicone).The vacuum or suction force pulls skin upward into the cup.
The answer to this question depends on which therapeutic framework you view it from.
Chinese medicine has pathological concepts that fit and describe the aims of use for cupping and the effect cupping has on the body from its’ particular perspective. So for example a Chinese medicine diagnosis may indicate the use of cupping for blood stagnation or to draw out toxins. These toxins are viewed as blocks to the channel systems or jingluo 经络 that can lead to pain or disease. Cupping therapy can assist in unblocking stagnantion by bring toxins to the surface, just under the skin from where they are metabolized by the body’s natural processes. Removal of these toxins makes way for fresh circulation of blood, fluids & nutrients and encouraging the body’s innate healing abilites.
From a western scientific framework experts are still exploring how cupping may ease pain and disease symptoms. There has been some research that suggests cupping does have benefits when it comes to pain relief. A 2019 review on all the studies on cupping therapy identified some possible mechanisms. See graphic below.
No single theory could explain its full spectrum of effects. More indepth studies are needed to conclusively understand the health impacts of the therapy.
Note: Cupping therapy is not a cure for any of the following but it may help reduce or alleviate symptoms in some cases.
The main applications for cupping in clinic are for:
- Arthritic conditions (including Rheumatoid arthritis -non acute phase)
- Back, neck, knee, shoulder, arm, leg pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Gastrointestinal issues (IBD)
- Breathing problems (e.g. asthma)
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
Yes, cupping is safe and considered a very low risk intervention. The type of risks that may be associated with cupping include:
- burns for an overheated cup, used in glass flame cupping
- fatigue, sometimes seen if cups are applied for too long a duration or to a person with weak constituition.
- soreness/tension, cups applied too tightly and/or for too long a time.
- skin infections, due to poor clinic hygiene practices.
In practice these risks are easily mitigated when carried out by an experienced professional.
Cupping marks range from very light (hardly noticeable ) to quite dark and even purple in the initial stages.
Despite their appearance cupping marks are not bruises. Bruises occur when the body experiences an impact trauma of some kind that breaks capillaries under the skin. Generally a person will feel pain at the bruising site.
With cupping, the marks are caused by suction. Blood, cellular debris, fluids & toxins are brought to the surface for the lymphatic system to clear away. Cupping marks very rarely hurt and usually clear anywhere from a few hours to several days.
Chinese medicine has its own framework for interpreting the colour and appearance of cupping marks.
Cupping should be avoided in the following cases:
- Haemmorraghic disease
- Acute infectious disease
- Skin issues e.g. ulcers, varicose veins, thin skin in elederly
- High fevers
- Abdomen in pregnancy
- Frail or weak patients
- Over bone (with glass cups)
- Over previous cupping marks that are still prominent
- Drinking some warm drinks (water/herbal tea) may give your lymphatic system the extra fluids it needs to flush your body of the toxins
- Avoid cold water bathing immediately after cupping.
- Keep the areas that were treated covered and warm.
- Avoid alcohol.
- You may feel fatigued or experience flu-like symptoms the next day. If this happens it’s your body processing via the lymphatic system. Take it easy, get extra rest, and practice good self-care.
It is possible to self apply silicone cups to some body areas e.g. neck, shoulders, arms, legs.
Ask me in clinic for a demo and I can arrange a set of silicone cups for home use.
GUA SHA QUESTIONS
Gua Sha has been called one of the best kept secrets of East Asian medicine. The word ‘Gua’ in Chinese means ‘to scrape’. Therefore, the technique involves using instrument assisted unidirectional strokes on a lubricated body area, with the aim of causing ‘Sha’. The word ‘Sha’ in Chinese means ‘sand’ or ‘small pebbles’ and this refers to the transitory therapeutic petchie (marks) that usually show up on the skin from the strokes.
The instruments I use to apply Gua sha are made from resin. They are thoroughly cleaned after use with soap and warm water.
Yes, essentially the technique and outcomes are the same. Graston and IASTM use fancy shiny stainless steel tools that just look more sophisticated:)
Gua Sha can be applied to most body areas (see FAQ- contraindication below) but is mainly used on the back, neck, shoulders, arms & legs. Facial Gua Sha, is applied to the face and has become common as a beauty treatment or can be used in treatment of jaw issues and headaches.
Gua Sha should not be painful to receive, however depending on the issue sometimes a person may experience a beneficial effect, ‘a good pain’, much like the correct use of pressure in massage can induce. I will carefully gauge whether Gua Sha may be a suitable treatment for your unique situation and body type and I will communicate with you at all times during treatment.
There’s no doubt that some images of ‘sha’ can look harsh but the technique itself is not harmful.
‘Sha’ is the term for the small reddish dots that emerge from the superficial or deeper levels of the body to the skin surface during gua sha treatment. In biomedicine, sha is labelled petichiae by dermatologists, and understood only as a harmless pathologic abnormality. A more dispersed pattern of redness, thought of as ecchymosis (a type of bruising with no features of pain) in conventional Western medicine, is also produced, and is also seen only as abnormal but harmless. However, when these forms of discolouration appear, gua sha practitioners are pleased and assured that the treatment has been positive.
Western studies into Gua Sha’s mechanism of action are limited for obvious reasons, funding etc., however results prompt a big potential for the application of this therapy. Briefly, these studies have found 3 main physiologic effects.
1. Gua Sha increased surface micro perfusion (surface circulation of blood) . Subjects experienced a decrease or full resolution in pain and an improved sense of well being.
2. A Harvard animal study on mice found that Gua Sha upregulates gene expression for an enzyme that is an anti-oxidant and cytoprotectant, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), at multiple internal organ sites immediately after treatment and over a period of days following gua sha treatment.
3. Gua sha treatment transiently reduces inflammatory injury to the liver when chronic hepatitis B moves into the immune active phase indicated by a liver function test. This single Harvard case study coincides with evidence from China and the previously mentioned animal study above.
Historically, in China, gua sha has been indicated for any problem that has a feature of surface or internal blood stasis (equivalent to poor circulation) and/or pain. The articles and studies from the Chinese language database cover an array of conditions responsive to gua sha including headache, migraine, neck, shoulder, back, and knee pain, as well as acute diseases such as fever, flu, earaches, asthma and bronchitis in children and adults. Gua sha is also effective in chronic disease including hepatitis, as discussed above. The bulk of the Chinese articles are large case series as well as randomized controlled trials. However, studies done in China are still subject to skepticism by some unless repeated in the West.
More evidence is emerging in Western peer reviewed journals. There are case reports in of gua sha for migraine , post herpetic neuralgia, and breast distension/mastitis as well as randomised controlled trials reporting gua sha has benefits in treating neck pain, neck and back pain and mastitis.
For links to some of these studies and more on Gua Sha go the ‘Resources’ page under Gua Sha.
Care is taken to avoid any pimples, moles and other skin irregularities that may be scratched or broken if an instrument is rubbed over it.
Gua Sha should be avoided in the following circumstances:
- If a person is in a weakened, frail or feeble condition.
- In bleeding disorders.
- In people who are taking anti-coagulant medication, eg. warfarin.
- During pregnancy.
- Soon after surgery.
- Over varicose veins, skin disease or open wounds, scratches etc.
- In persons with implants or pacemakers
- In persons who experience high fevers or convulsions
- To a person suffering from a serious communicable disease.
- If attending a function/event and you do not want Gua Sha marks visible on the skin
No I don’t, but, I have a colleague who specialises in this area and I’d be happy to refer you to her. Please use the contact form below to get in touch.
It’s more likely that I would suggest to you to try Gua Sha as part of either an acupuncture or massage treatment if I felt it was appropriate to your needs. Usually, I may recommend that we incorporate it into treatment of a musculoskeletal issue, e.g. pain, limitation in movement.
As with cupping therapy, Gua sha seems to be of benefit for people seeking treatment for emotional imbalances e.g. anxiety and mood disorders and promotes a sense of well being.
Gua Sha is usually applied to various areas for relatively short periods of time as a complement to other therapies. As such, there is no price or charge for Gua Sha per se but it may be included as part of an overall treatment (acu/massage).
- Rest for a while and drink some warm water.
- Avoid cold water bathing for 24 hours.
- Keep all treatment areas covered up and warm.
- Avoid cold, windy or draughty conditions including fans and air-conditioning.
DRY NEEDLING QUESTIONS
The term dry needling was introduced in the 1940’s by Dr. Janet Travell during her investigations into myofascial trigger points. These points were defined as ‘hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that is associated with hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band’ (Dommerholt 2006).
A hypodermic needle was used to affect the trigger point, without injecting a solution, hence dry needling.
Subsequent investigations in later years found that the same effect could be brought about by using an acupuncture needle. The term dry needling became synomomus with the technique of inserting an acupuncture needle into muscle fibre to active a twitch response which would encourage the tissue to release.
The technique was well established centuries prior by Chinese acupuncturists and constitutes just a one small aspect to needling technique in the Chinese system.
It’s popularity has grown in recent years amongst Physios, Chiros and even massage therapists. There is an on-going debate and discussion about sufficient training standards and the right to perform needling.
An example, I undertook over 700 supervised clinical hours to become an Acupuncturist, a dry needler can obtain a certification with a little as 16 hours (2-day course for those with proven anatomical training backgrounds).
I recommend, for your own safety, to only receive needling from a registered and qualified Acupuncturist.
See also FAQ – ‘Is acupuncture the same as dry needling?’ (above)
The needles used for dry needling are standard acupuncture needles. They’re as fine as a hair. The technique used in dry needling requires that you should feel some sensation e.g. a twitch in the muscle, however the aim is not to cause pain. You may experience a dull aching and release.
I always gauge my client’s potential anticipation of needling and work through various means, including distraction, a focus on breathing or heavy pressure to the area to help minimise any potential pain feeling.
The relief that most people feel on release of a tight muscle by far outweighs any sensation from the needling.
Yes, as dry needling has all the practical hallmarks of acupuncture it is considered safe when carried out by a trained professional. As with all types of needling some side effects may occur such as spotting (tiny bleed on needle removal) or bruising. Fainting, nausea, residual discomfort or altered energy levels have been reported but are rare.
Please be wary of receiving dry needling from those without or with insufficient training in this area.
Please see FAQ- ‘What is dry-needling (above) for more on this.
It’s more likely that I would suggest to you to some dry-needling as part of either an acupuncture or massage treatment if I felt it was appropriate to your needs.
As the technique is relatively fast it’s not really a case of having a dry-needling session on it’s own. Usually I might recommend that we incorporate it into treatment of a musculoskeletal issue.
As such there is no price or charge for dry-needling per se but it may be included as part of an overall treatment (acu/massage).
I recommend avoiding strenuous or high impact activities immediately after dry needling to allow the body time to recover and maximise the treatment benefits. If any lingering soreness remains I suggest alleviating with the use of a heat pack to help warm the area and get the blood flowing.
MOXIBUSTION/HEAT THERAPY QUESTIONS
Moxibustion is an externally applied Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment using a Chinese herb called Moxa, commonly known as ‘Mugwort’ (Artemisia vulgaris). Mugwort or ‘Ai Ye’ is also used internally as a herb in Chinese medicine. For external use there are a number of ways that moxa is applied. Generally the application of moxa aims to heat up acupuncture points on the body. The radiant heat produced has the effect of stimulating the point. The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Qi, and maintain general health.
Moxibustion/Moxa: There are many ways to apply moxa to the body. I use moxa on needles which warm the needle and give a pleasant heat sensation deep into the body. I also burn tiny threads of moxa on acupuncture points and use cones on the body for a broader treatment. The heat should always feel pleasant and I’m extremely carefully to ensure burns do not occur and I will always err on the side of caution when using moxa. Needle moxa is a dissipating heat deep into the body, you may feel a ‘peak’ moment where you think it’s very hot and then it begins to reduce. Thread moxa can feel like a tiny pinch, like the insertion of an acupuncture needle and moxa cones are more of broad heat which I remove precisely at the point of when you first feel a heat sensation.
Infared heat lamp: These devices have been used in Chinese hospitals since the early 1970’s. They are wonderfully safe and effective method of treating with heat and a regular response I get from clients is ‘where can I get one of those’? The heat from these lamps is diffuse over a broad area and is very pleasant. Often clients will drop off to sleep or nap during use of the lamp.I find 20-25 mins duration is usually enough.
There is always a very small risk of a minor burn when using heat therapy, more so with moxa than with the infrared lamp. I take great care when using moxa in treatment and any risks will be fully explained to you and informed consent requested. I have contingencies in place (first aid burn cream) in the clinic if required. To put your mind at ease, I’ve never had to use this yet.
- In cases of high fever, infectious diseases as in bacterial or viral causes of late stages of flu, pneumonia, meningitis, diarrhea, eye/ear/dental inflammations, etc.,
- Skin erythema (red rash), skin infections (e.g. red moist eczema),
(however, for pale dry rash /eczema/dermatitis, moxa can be indicated).
- In cases of Gout, (active) rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis
- In cases of dehydration (severe thirst, constipation),
- Untreated high blood pressure, (however, patients who take blood pressure medication and suffer sciatic pain, for example, can be treated with moxibustion locally),
- During heavy menstruation,
(exception: moxibustion on two specific acupuncture points SP-1, SP-8 can be treated with moxa in order to help stop bleeding),
- Caution in recent surgery
- Abdomen and lumbrosacral area of pregnant women,
It’s more likely that I would suggest to you that you try moxa/heat therapy as part of either an acupuncture or massage treatment if I felt it was appropriate to your needs.
I would often recommend that we incorporate it into treatment of a musculoskeletal issue, limitation of movement, pain, stiffness etc. but it can be used for a variety of health conditions where we would see a hypo- or under functioning of certain body systems and general weakness.
There is no extra charge for moxa/heat therapy per se but it may be included as part of an overall treatment (acu/massage).
Yes, I’m more than happy to supply you with moxa for home use and to demonstrate it’s use. You should note that moxa is very pungent and some people find the smell unpleasant.
In China moxa is a very common daily home care treatment for many, especially the elderly. It’s seen as a preventative and used to boost immunity and treat everyday aches and pains.