LIVE: Traditional Chinese Medicine ... it's more than just needles

I recently wrote about my experience with acupuncture in my October newsletter. I don’t know what took me so long to get back to trying this therapy for my post-accident lingering neck pain, but it’s definitely made a difference. My sessions with Meghan Meade at Wellness in Motion Boston have been soothing, educational and even inspirational. Meghan motivated me to try a couple of traditional Chinese therapies that are a bit less mainstream, and I’m really glad I did.

One of my favorite things about seeing Meghan is that she provides some tools to continue the benefits of her treatments at home. She’ll stick a few press balls onto different meridian points on my ear, and press tacks at different places on the sides and backs of my hands, where she usually places her acupuncture needles. When I’m feeling pain or stress~~or anytime I think about it and have a few moments~~I can press these points and get a response similar to the one Meghan elicits in the office.

Moxibustion on a point on my outer right ankle

I had come across the term moxibustion when I was heavy in my self-study of herbal medicine years ago. It’s believed that burning a small amount of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) near acupuncture points can increase circulation and improve general immune response. Meghan provided me with small cylinders of the herb tipped with adhesive discs. After lighting the end of the cylinder (as you do with incense), I stick it on one of the meridian spots on the outside of my hand or foot. The sensation is one of warmth and drawing, and I can feel the tension flow from my body as the smoke rises from the moxa.

But by far my favorite TCM treatment is cupping. Maybe you remember seeing the post-treatment bruises on swimmer Michael Phelps’ back during the 2016 summer Olympics~~that’s when this therapy started becoming a “thing” in the U.S. This really does feel like a reverse massage, and it provides me relief that I’ve never felt before, especially around my shoulders. And no, it doesn’t hurt. The sensation during treatment is kind of one of tightness and pulling, but the release when the cups come off is indescribable. My muscles feel warm and loose in a way that “regular” massage just can’t deliver.

Have you tried any of these~~or other~~TCM therapies?