Many patients express initial anxiety about needle insertion; Needles used are generally the diameter of a human hair. Most insertion is relatively painless or not at all. Occasionally a a tiny pricking sensation will occur at the insertion point. It is much less painful than getting your ears pierced or your blood drawn or having a vaccination.
Moxibustion is the placement of compressed sticks of the herb mugwort (various species of the genus artemisia are used depending upon vendor availability) above the skin in order to stimulate channels and organs. It will cause a sensation of heat on your skin.
The application of glass, plastic, latex, or silicone cups for Cupping brings blood to the skin's surface to improve circulation and expel pathogens. Mild bruising may occur, lasting a few hours to two weeks depending on the severity of the blood stagnation in the muscle tissue.
Gua Sha is the scraping of oiled skin to expel excess heat or to improve blood circulation. It will result in sha which is reddened, raised skin. Tools may be constructed of jade (as seen in photo on the right), ceramic, horn, or plastic. Even a metal spoon may be used.
Qigong is a mind-body practice that integrates movement, breathwork and meditation.
Medical Qigong is one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is often used when needles are contraindicated, but is a complete system of medicine by itself. It is the intentional shift of the patient's Qi by the practitioner through mental focus, the laying-on of hands, meditation, energy and breath work.