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Cupping, GuaSha


Moxibustion, or moxa, is named after the Japanese word “mogusa”. The therapy involves burning a prepared form of the herb mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) over specific areas and along the acupuncture channels. The heat and the specific properties of the herb break up obstructions and encourages correct flow to restore proper function of the bodies systems.  Moxa is also famously used to increase energy and vitalize the metabolic and immune systems. 

What to Expect:

Patients love the gentle warming sensation of moxa.  The sensation starts at the local area but often spreads along channel pathways creating a feeling of gentle heat, energy and strength.  Your practitioner will constantly monitor the level of heat to ensure comfort.  There may be some light redness in the area or along the channel after moxa. 

Common Applications:

  • Moxibustion is fantastic for pain. It’s one of the best ways of eliminating pain associated with: 

    • Orthopedic and muscle pain conditions

    • Menstrual cramps

    • Injury or arthritis

    • Digestive problems

    • Frozen shoulder

  • Strengthens the immune system: great for making sure your body’s defenses stay strong during the winter and preventing or managing cold and flu.

  • Increases energy: It’s one of the few ways to transfer “Yang” energy into the body.  When the digestive system is sluggish, or when you are fatigued and missing that "get-up-and-go" ... moxa can help.


  • Benefits the reproductive system and is especially useful for menstrual symptoms like cramping, bloating and irritability.

  • Fun fact: Moxa is probably most well-known in the west for its effectiveness in turning breach babies.

Cupping Therapy

One way to think about cupping is that it’s the inverse of massage. Instead of applying positive pressure to muscles, the suction uses negative pressure to lift skin, tissue and muscles.  This releases congested, stagnant areas and stretches knotted tissue and fascia while encouraging healthy new blood flow to the area. The new blood brings oxygen and nutrients to quicken healing and help decrease inflammation.  Even though the marks left by Cupping are significant, people love the way it gets into the deep sore areas of muscle congestion that we all carry around with us.

What to Expect:

Cupping often feels very relaxing, but famously leaves the circular marks popularized in the west by swimmer Michael Phelps during the 2016 Olympics and by a growing number of stars on the red carpet.  The more stagnation and "gunk" there is in the area the darker the circle will be.  After your first visit the marks may stay for up to a week or longer, but after each treatment you will find that the marks are less dark and go away much quicker.  Within a few sessions very little marking will show because the area is clean and proper circulation has been restored.

Common Applications:

  • Cupping is fantastic for the pain associated with stiff, overused muscles and the imbalance that can come from poor posture.

  • Some conditions of organ imbalance can be addressed by cupping specific reflex zones along the back.  Respiratory conditions are often treated with cupping therapy.

  • De-Toxification - opening up stagnant areas and increasing circulation allows the body to filter out toxins from normal cell metabolism as well as exposure to hazardous chemicals.

  • Relaxation!!  Many people love the feeling of cupping and leave feeling as if a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.

click here to see some images of cupping​ from our clinic

Gua Sha

Think of your body as a flowing circuit of blood, fluids and information. When the circulation is clean and clear, the unneeded toxins get flushed away, and the much-needed nourishment is steady and distributed appropriately to the muscles, brain, connective tissue and organs. When the circulation is impeded, unwanted by-products of metabolism and hormone production build up. Gua Sha works to free the circulation into and out of an area by dissipating congestion and dispersing toxins.  In this way it helps to restore nourishment to tissues and organs, vitalize the tissues and harmonize the body's production of certain hormones.

What to Expect:
Guasha most often feels like a gentle stroking along the skin.  Almost immediately small red dots (called “sha” or petechiae) appear on your skin - looking almost like a rash. The "sha" may be a lighter red when the injury or stasis is recent, or it can be dark red or purple (or even black!) with chronic issues. (For facials, we don't stimulate to the point of raising sha.)  The Gua Sha marks usually fade within a few days but may last longer the first time it is done, or in areas where the circulation is impeded. 
After the treatment, patients usually feel an immediate decrease in pain, greater range of motion, and release of pressure or tension.  Very often people feel that their mind is clearer in the following days may also feel an increase in energy.

Common Applications:

  • Pain, aches, tenderness, or muscle tension:  Great for stiff necks, back pain and shoulder tension.


  • Common cold/flu symptoms, bronchitis and asthma

  • Chronic disorders that have never quite resolved.  For example: that nagging cough or post-nasal drip; the shoulder injury that never fully healed; chronic digestive irritability or disease.

  • Chronic migraines and headaches as well as chronic sinus pressure and certain types of tinnitus.


  • Reduce fevers and inflammation: Associated with chronic illness.

  • Menstrual disorders such as PMS cramping and digestive discomfort, bloating, irregular menses.


  • Gua Sha Facials: A non-needling alternative to facial acupuncture. Gua Sha scraping works on the different layers of the skin, tissues, and muscles to ease tight muscles that cause wrinkles and strengthen weak muscles that cause sagging while stimulating sub-dermal collagen production for a healthy vibrant skin tone..

for more on Gua Sha, read this recent article of ours.

click here to see images of guasha from our clinic.

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