Used for thousands of years in China, acupressure applies the same principles as acupuncture to promote relaxation and wellness and to treat disease. Instead of needles, acupressure involves the application of manual pressure (usually with the fingertips) to specific acupoints on the body. It can be useful as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with other therapies. It can also be useful for patients who are particularly sensitive to needles.
Cupping is a therapy that stimulates the flow of blood and circulation to the superficial muscle layers, which help to promote healing and relaxation of the underlying muscles. Small glass vacuum cups are placed over the area of muscle tightness. The vacuum in the cup is created either using heat or suction. The cups remain in place for five to ten minutes before being released. Cupped sites may show signs of petechiae, or bruising under the skin; however this indicates increased blood flow to the region and is a positive sign of a therapeutic treatment.
Gua Sha is a traditional technique commonly used to release muscle tension and tightness. It is especially useful in the cervical and thoracic regions, but the technique can be utilized in any region with chronic myofascial pain. Using a specialized tool, the skin over a problem area is scraped and rubbed in a way to stimulate blood flow to the surface and thereby relaxing the underlying muscles. Gua Sha can be done alone as a treatment for tight muscles or headaches related to them, or it can be added at the end of a treatment involving trigger points, acupuncture or cupping. Signs of petechiae or bruising under the skin denote increased blood flow and is a favorable sign of a therapeutic treatment.
Infrared Light Therapy
The TDP mineral lamp is an FDA Class II medical device known as a far-infrared heating device and can be used alone or in combination with acupuncture or other treatment modalities. TDP stands for Teding Diancibo Pu, which translates to “special electromagnetic spectrum.” This type of heat penetrates much more deeply (up to 3.5 inches) than other forms of heat and results in a more thorough and extensive stimulation of local circulation. The lamp’s mineral plate contains 33 trace minerals that are found within the human body. These minerals, combined with the infrared heat, produces a stimulating and healing effect on the body as it increases the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to soft tissue, enhances local white blood cell function, promotes cell regeneration and healing, and improves local lymph circulation therapy thereby helping to remove toxins. The TDP lamp is used as a modern therapeutic substitute for moxibustion, a traditional Chinese therapy.