Modalities Used In Acupuncture Treatments

In addition to standard acupuncture techniques, your practitioner may request to incorporate Electroacupuncture, Ear Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Tui Na Massage, Fire Cupping, or Gua Sha, as part of your overall treatment plan.

For more information regarding these supplementary modalities, please view the descriptions below.


refined-massage-therapy-electroacupuncture-2Electroacupuncture is an alternative technique designed to promote the flow of Qi and blood, relieve pain, warm the muscles and remove blockages within the Meridians.

The procedure for electroacupuncture involves inserting the needles first, then attaching a small electrode to the needles. These electrodes apply a pulsating electrical current to the needles as a way of stimulating the acupoints and enhancing the Qi. The practitioner controls the current using the small electro-stimulating device. A gentle vibration is felt, and this stimulates the Qi running through the acupoint.

Electroacupuncture is painless and is often very soothing to the patient. It also:

  • Substitutes for the practitioner’s prolonged hand maneuvering of the needle.
  • Assures that the patient gets the amount of stimulation needed.
  • Reduces total treatment time by providing continued stimulus.
  • Produces a stronger stimulation without causing tissue damage (strong stimulation is mostly needed for difficult neurological disorders, chronic pain, spasms or paralysis).
  • And provides a more fluid treatment.

Holistic Sports Medicine commonly uses electroacupuncture for the treatment of pain and range of motion following injuries and surgeries.


Ear Acupuncture (or auricular acupuncture) is the stimulation of acupuncture points on the external surface of the ear for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in other areas of the body.

The ear holds a microsystem of the body, and by needling the respective points on the ear, the body responds as it would to acupoints located on the body. Treatments can be provided with needles, electrotherapy or ear seeds.

Ear Acupuncture is a treatment modality that is free of side effects, and brings remarkable results for any condition treatable with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, such as: chronic pain, neurological and hormonal conditions, migraines, insomnia, stress, depression and irritable bowel syndrome (to name a few).


refined-massage-therapy-holistic-health-moxibustionMoxibustion is a technique designed to warm the body and the Meridians (which stimulates the flow of Blood and Qi), stimulate the immune system and maintain general health.

This therapy involves the burning of the herb Mugwort (known as Moxa) to facilitate healing. The dried, processed leaves, when burned, produce a unique penetrating heat that is stimulating to the body.

In indirect Moxibustion (the moxibusion technique used at Refined Massage Therapy), your practitioner will light one end of a moxa stick (moxa herb compressed into a stick roughly the shape and size of a cigar) and will then hold it close to the area being treated for several minutes until the skin becomes warm and red. The patient will experience a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deep into the skin, and should not experience any pain or blistering.

This technique can be used to treat colds and flus, pain, menstrual disorders and infertility and has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth.


The literal translation of Tui Na (pronounced “twee nah”) is “Push and Grasp”.

Tui Na is designed to help promote circulation and relieve pain. This category of physical therapy includes acupressure, massage, stretching and manipulation. Techniques of pressing, rolling, grasping and rubbing are used, and even gentle pounding to encourage the release of tension from myofascial tissue. This technique works on the same points and Meridians used in acupuncture, and employs the same basic theory as Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Gua – translates as rub or scrape, Sha – a term used to describe the substances released to the surface of the body after the rubbing or scraping occurs.

Gua Sha is designed to release unhealthy elements from injured areas of the body and stimulates blood flow and healing. Using specialized instruments made from plastic, soap stone or jade, the practitioner uses repeated strokes over specific areas to release adhesions, reduce excess fluids, loosen connective tissue and release stagnant blood trapped within the tissues.


Fire Cupping is the term applied to the technique that uses small glass cups as suction devices that are placed on the skin. Suction in the cup is achieved by placing an inverted cup over a small flame to create a vacuum effect within the cup. Flames are never used near the skin and are only a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the cups.

Once the cups are placed on the skin and suction has occurred, the skin and superficial muscle will be lightly pulled into the cup. This causes the skin to redden as the blood vessels expand. This is much like the inverse of massage: rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. This provides an especially pleasant experience!

Fire Cupping therapy is designed to align and relax Qi, open Meridians, clear blockages, release toxins, move lymph, and invigorate veins and arteries with fresh blood. Cupping can be used to treat back and neck pain, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, loosen scar tissue and muscle knots, and can also help treat anxiety, fatigue and migraines.

This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help control a person’s asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common illnesses that cupping is used to relieve.


Gua Sha and Cupping are time-tested Traditional Chinese Medical treatments that purposely leave a variety of marks resembling bruising and injury. While the marks look painful, the experience of Cupping and Gua Sha is pleasant, providing an immediate change in pain, mobility and tension. The marks left on the skin dissipate within two to five days and is a natural, positive response to the therapy.


For more information regarding acupuncture services offered at Refined Massage Therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone at (780) 459-1178 or via e-mail at