Cupping, Guasha and Moxibustion
The two techniques, Cupping and Guasha, are closely related and highly effective. They form part of the “folk medicine” of the Orient and deserve a worthy place in the tool kit of any Oriental Med Medicine practitioner or bodyworker. They achieve clinical results that are otherwise very labour intensive to attain.
Guasha is the technique of scraping the body with a hard object. Its purpose is to stimulate the circulation and thereby to disperse inflammation or Heat in the body.
Cupping Technique involves a glass jar. A flame is inserted briefly and rapidly into the jar, not enough to heat the jar but sufficient to heat the air and burn the oxygen. This has the effect of creating a partial vacuum and when the jar is quickly placed onto the skin, effectively what is happening is the cup acts like a local pump. By drawing on the tissues, the cupping automatically draws on or mobilises the local fluids. Therefore any pathogenic factors such as Heat, Cold or Damp will be dispersed.
Moxibustion is the practice of burning a herb on or close to the body in order to generate specific therapeutic effects. The fundamental principle involved in moxibustion is the promotion of blood circulation.
The body has a homeostatic requirement for maintaining a fixed temperature; when an area on the surface of the body is warmed in excess of other areas, the body needs to ensure that no over-heating occurs, so it responds by dilating the blood vessels and increasing the flow of blood in the heated area. This increase in blood flow automatically enhances the vitality of the local tissues because the blood brings more nourishment and oxygen to the cells, eliminates more carbon dioxide (and therefore disperses the acidity of the local tissues) and brings more of the immune defending cells such as phagocytes and lymphocytes to the area.
So just as with acupuncture, the application of moxibustion has an immune enhancing effect; the body responds to the stimulus by increasing the vitality of the local tissues.