Non-Needle Acupuncture Therapies
BY KATHRYN KURASH
One of the most famous adjunctive therapies to acupuncture. It is used primarily for pain relief as fascial massage. It increased circulation of blood and lymph and relieves stagnation. It is wonderful for blood pressure issues as well. It also stimulates the nervous system, so can be used for digestion as well. It can be used on the body or face.
Therapeutic skin scraping, or Gua Sha, is a non-needle therapy used to increase blood, qi, and lymph circulation. The tool used for this therapy is smooth-edged and made of stone. It is great at reducing inflammation and reducing pain by removing blood and qi stasis. We use it in the treatment of both chronic and acute pain, especially in the back and limbs. Gua Sha can be an adjunctive or primary treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, Migraines, Menopausal or Menstrual issues. It also increases immune function, so is used to treat colds, flu’s, and other acute sicknesses. Because a Gua Sha tool scrapes the skin, often mild redness or bruising can remain on the skin for a few days. The skin is occasionally sore to the touch (similar to a bruise).
Tuina is a form of Chinese Massage. We use rolling, traction, pushing/pulling, and a pinching motion to stimulate movement along energy meridians. Acupressure also falls under the broad category of Tuina. Unlike traditional “massage” Tuina is not meant to be relaxing, it is a targeted therapy used by an acupuncturist, to treat something specific. Often, Tuina is used to treat muscle, tendon and joint pain, arthritis and tension headaches, but it can also treat conditions like insomnia, constipation, menstrual issues, and psychological disorders.
Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture can be administered with either seeds or needles. The ear, functions as a complete micro system of the body. Needles or seeds are placed in the ear and seeds can be retained for days at a time. Anything treated by traditional acupuncture can also be accomplished with auricular acupuncture. Many specific auricular protocols have been developed specific to different conditions. Non-needle therapies are often used in combination with traditional acupuncture, but can be used on their own in the case of kids, or people for whom needles are unsuitable.