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Those little bruises on Michael Phelps shoulders stimulated huge interest in cupping therapy. The Olympic cupping craze! Earlier this week I was filmed doing cupping by the magazine Marie Claire. Many people have questions. Here are the basics. What is Cupping? Cupping is an ancient therapy from East Asian which a depressurized a glass or plastic cup is placed on a muscle.  The skin under the cup is lifted up.  The therapy is quite common in Asian communities, as well as Eastern Europe and the Middle east. What is cupping used for? Cupping can be used for for muscle pain, arthritis, fatigue, and stress.  You can also use it to help colds, cough, and even acne.[1-3]   It is often

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Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have roots over 3000 years old.  The oldest known book of Chinese medicine is from 2500 years ago and is called the Huang Di Nei Jing, which translates to the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic. Much of that theory still influences acupuncture and Chinese medicine.   The birth of the Chinese medicine tradition occurred when the Chinese developed the viewpoint that disease is caused by forces in the natural world.  And through the healthy choices, we can influence our own health.  This post is based upon ideas from Paul Unschuld’s fabulous book, Medicine in China. Originally, disease theory in China was based upon a shamanistic view that illness was caused by evil spirits. The first record we

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a term that refers to medicine practices developed in China and other parts of Asia.  Traditional Chinese Medicine generally covers many types of modalities including acupuncture and moxibustion, Chinese Herbal remedies, Tui Na or Chinese Medical Massage, as well as other manual therapies including gua sha (spoon massage or coining) and cupping. In China, the term Chinese medicine (in Chinese it is called Zhong Yi 中医) often refers to the practice of Chinese herbal medicine.  Although it can also refer to the entire practice of Chinese medicine. While acupuncture refers to acupuncture and moxibustion. Some of these therapies are performed only by experienced physicians, such as prescribing complex herbal formulas or doing acupuncture. But others are

“And when you do find one, observe with care…they almost always have crystals in their hearts.” From Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez To understand Chinese medicine better, we also have to think about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine conceptualize and describe the body. The Language of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine is a comprehensive medical system with it own diagnosis and treatment.  The terminology and language is also unique. Sometimes, acupuncture language may sound a little magical.  We may say that a headache is caused by liver qi stagnation in one person but in another person it may be from heat.  Similarly, anxiety can come from heart blood vacuity but it

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Acupuncture is one of the most powerful and versatile therapies in Chinese medicine, but it is not the only one.  Acupuncturists use many techniques of Traditional East Asian Medicine.  Other techniques include moxibustion, gua sha, and cupping (as well as herbal medicine and acupressure). Moxibustion Moxibustion is the burning of an herb call mugwort, ai ye in Chinese, close to specific acupuncture points or on the needle itself.  It is used to warm and add energy to the acupuncture point.  It also is good for moving stagnation. Moxibustion is central to acupuncture treatment, the word for moxibustion is actually in the Chinese for acupuncture- zhen jiu.  Zhen means needle, and jiu is refering to moxibustion. Gua Sha Gua sha is the rubbing