Cupping is a technique used to promote the circulation of qi and blood. Glass cups are gently suctioned to the skin and applied to a local area. The cups can be left in place or moved to promote circulation under the skin. Cupping can help with muscle tension, coughs, pain, and strains. It is often compared to a deep tissue massage. Cupping is also used to release toxins from the body through the suction which penetrates deep into the tissues. Cupping stimulates the lymphatic system thereby helping to move qi and blood.
Gua sha is a technique that helps relieve stagnation or release pathogenic qi from the body. Oil is applied to an area and a Chinese soup spoon is used to scrape (gua) the skin to bring up redness or raised red bumps or bruising (sha). Gua sha involves the scraping the skin which helps relieve pain, release colds and respiratory issues, and release tension. This scraping helps break up blood stagnation and promote smooth qi flow to the area elevating pain.
Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called "moxa" are burned on the Acupuncture needle or very near the surface of the skin. The heat is said to penetrate the channels by warming and invigorating the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences such as cold. Moxa is usually made from the dried leafy material of Chinese mugwort (Artemesia argyi or A.vlugaris), but it can be made of other substances as well.
Moxibustion is used for pain due to injury or arthritis, especially in "cold" patterns where the pain naturally feels better with the application of heat. Moxa can be used to support digestive issues and irregular elimination. Gynecological issues such as cramps and obstetrical conditions, including breech presentation in late term pregnancy benefit from the use of moxibustion.