Gua Sha & Cupping

Gua sha has been an integrated therapeutic modality in Chinese Medicine for millennia. The practitioner takes an implement, either a jar lid or a special tool, and scrapes (gua), or “press-strokes” the skin in one direction several times. This creates “transitory therapeutic petechiae”, the appearance on the skin of stripes or areas of mottled purple or red (sha), which arise from the action of scraping. 

Gua sha has a wide ranging therapeutic effect:

  • Increases the surface circulation of blood, which reduces or resolves pain.

  • Immune and anti-inflammatory effect

  • Effective with chronic disease, hepatitis B

At Bliss Acupuncture, gua sha has proven especially effective to resolve the pain and free up mobility for frozen shoulder. Because it releases heat, Gua sha is also crucial to any treatment of an emerging inflammatory condition, such as flulike symptoms or bronchialand respiratory illnesses.


 Cupping,  similarly to gua sha, is a method rooted in a long history of Chinese medicine. Essentially, the practice of cupping involves suction of cup on skin, enabling the skin to lift from the subcutaneous layers and increasing local flow of blood and fluids. Prolonged cupping can lead to purple ‘bruise’ marks, similar to the petechiae that surfaces in gua sha.

At Bliss Acupuncture, silicone cups are used for sliding cupping, which creates a deep and satisfying massage after an acupuncture session. Sliding cups are also integral to some treatments for pain, such as that of plantar fasciitis, foot arch pain and neck and face pain. We use glass cups for stationary cupping as part of a treatment for cold conditions such as onset of common cold, respiratory illness that derive from cold, and pain that worsens with cold.

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At Bliss Acupuncture, moxa is incorporated into many treatments. Moxibustion is basically the burning, or smoldering, of an herb (specifically mugwort) over the surface of the skin. There is direct and indirect moxa –indirect moxa does not make contact with skin but rather is set atop needles or a medium such as a ginger slice or salt, or placed in a box or bowl with smoke directed toward skin. Direct moxa is carefully smoldered on the skin to stimulate channel or trigger points.

Moxa is one of the oldest therapies in Chinese medicine, and many scholars believe it predates acupuncture. Acupuncture and moxibustion evolved together, and are often used together in a treatment, both In Chinese and Japanese medicine. Its therapeutic effects are wide ranging and well documented.

Traditionally Moxa was burned to enhance longevity and ensure stamina, and to treat deeply entrenched illnesses. There are a many conditions for which moxibustion (or acu-moxa) is indicated and proven therapeutic; distal (meaning fingers and toes) sensory neuropathy in HIV, fetal malposition, diarrhea, and colitis, urinary incontinence and dysmenorrheal, knee osteoarthritis, temporomandibular joint disturbance syndrome, soft tissue injury, heel pain, asthma, urinary retention, and herpes zoster, symptom management for Crohn’s disease, IBS and tuberculosis. Moxibustion can also be used to treat weakness, fatigue, and aging related problems.

At Bliss Acupuncture, only the finest, aged Japanese moxa is employed. Indirect moxa is burned via a box and placed on the abdomen or lower back to warm the torso, treat fatigue, gastro-intestinal problems such as diarrhea, and for fertility treatments. Burning moxa atop a needle is another indirect method, designed to warm up a larger area than an individual channel opening.

Direct moxa is applied Japanese style, either with the use of stick on, preformed moxa or tiny rice grain size moxa with underlying burn ointment. Direct moxa is excellent for knee pain and softening tight knots or cords of muscle, such as the IT Band and the muscles that cause sciatica type pain. Direct moxa is also indicated in many Japanese and classical Chinese internal treatments, in conjunction with acupuncture, for a wide range of conditions.



Bliss Acupuncture offers TuiNa as an adjunct to the acupuncture treatment, primarily for structural and muscular injuries and conditions. Tui Na (pinch and pull) is a therapeutic type of deep massage that has been a pillar of Chinese medicine for many centuries.

On the surface it may resemble Swedish massage because some of the techniques include gliding (effleurage), kneading, percussion, friction, pulling, rotation, rocking, vibration, and shaking. There are similarities to shiatsu, as both utilize the channel energy system and apply acupressure to specific acupuncture points.

Tuina is a deep system of massage that not only can affect the joints, bones, and muscle system but also the energy level, smoothing and liberating the flow of Qi and blood throughout the body.

Bliss Acupuncture employs Tuina in the treatment of sciatica type pain, most lower, middle and upper back pain, neck pain.