Other interventions used at this clinic include fire-cupping, moxibustion, electro-stimulation and ear acupuncture.
Moxibustion is a heat therapy that uses a smoldering herb over target points or areas of the body. Heat has the ability to reinforce the effect of certain acupoints, the functioning of specific organs, to increase circulation to an area and to generally support the body (the body normally must warm itself to 37°, so when heated from the outside, its like offering a helping hand). To cover larger areas of the body, a heat-lamp will often be employed).
Fire-cupping is a traditional intervention that has been present in many cultures. A flame is used to create a vacuum in a glass cup, which is then applied to a target area on the body. The skin and underlying tissues are drawn up into the cup creating space underneath, drawing apart contracted tissues and adhesions, drawing out cellular waste material and allowing more fresh blood to flow through and provide fluids, oxygen and nourishment to the area.
CAUTION: Fire cupping will cause big circular skin blemishes! They are not painful and will normally take a few days to clear away completely, like a normal bruise. It’s worth it!
Electro-acupuncture (electro-stimulation, electrostim, e-stim) is performed by passing a mild electrical current through 2 or more needles, to ‘connect’ the points, or to activate the plane. It is often used to relax muscles in spasm, to reduce pain and to reactivate weak or degenerated tissues. The intensity of the current is increased gently in communication with the patient, and should generally not be painful.
Ear-acupuncture is a French-developed system that identifies specific points on the ear as being related to specific parts of the body, and as such by needling select points (the needles used are very fine, or indeed seeds are taped in place to act as acupressure stimulators), a therapeutic effect is achieved in that part of the body.
Scalp acupuncture is another contemporary addition to the acupuncture toolkit, having been in development since the 1960’s and in general acceptance since the beginning of the 1970’s. It uses local shallow needle stimulation (superficial to the bone) in zones of the scalp overlying identified regions of the cerebral cortex neurologically relating to specific regions and functions of the body. It is used in conjunction with TCM acupuncture, and combines neurological and TCM approaches to treatment formulation. It was originally used to great effect in treating central nervous system (CNS) injury and dysfunction (for example stroke or brain injury rehabilitation). When the primary treatment focus is the CNS, e-stim will be employed throughout the treatment. More can be read about this technique here.