When you come in for your appointment, we may utilize manual therapies in addition to your acupuncture treatment. Here’s the reason why.
Orthopedic needling creates the perfect opportunity to use soft tissue techniques. My mentor, Dr. Anthony Lombardi made the following analogy: When you have a problem, it’s like when your computer freezes. Acupuncture helps re-boot the computer. Soft tissue helps repair the computer’s hardware.
To put it more simply, the soft tissue is what ties everything together and makes it move. Injury, years of over training or improper movement patterns, neurogenic inflammation, etc can produce what can best be thought of as “scar tissue” to form. Targeted use of soft tissue therapies can help break this “scar tissue” up. Soft tissue therapies also provide proprioceptive input to your brain, letting it know that you have new – a.k.a. “normal” – range of motion.
Tuina is is a system of Chinese medical massage. Historically, it has been closely linked to martial arts and was passed down through apprenticeships. Think about it. The leader who could get his men healthy again the fastest would be more likely to win the next battle. It’s not surprising, then, that tuina is one of Chinese Medicine’s most effective tools to help you recover from a wide variety of musculoskeletal injuries and trauma.
Tuina is not your typical relaxing massage; the aim is explicitly therapeutic. It uses active and passive stretching and soft tissue and joint mobilizations, and other techniques that are similar to western myofascial release. Like other sports medicine techniques we use, the goal is to restore normal, pain free movement.
Gua Sha is a traditional form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization. It involves rubbing / scraping the skin with a round-edged instrument. Usually, I use a specially cut piece of jade. Traditionally, it is thought to improve blood circulation in the muscle and other tissue.
It is also used to break up myofascial adhesions in the areas that we treat. Fascia is the “shrink wrap” around your muscles, blood vessels and other tissues. Normally, sheets of fascia slide smoothly over one another. Injury, over training, inflammation or other causes can cause cross linkages and / or “scar tissue” to form. This prevents normal gliding and elasticity. Gua Sha, along with tuina can help to break up those adhesions and improve mobility. Usually, patients experience immediate improvement in stiffness, pain and movement following a treatment.