Moving Blockages 1 – Cupping

Cupping out the stored cold

Where does this information come from?


A quiet reflection – what actually did or does make it into texts?

In our own society – did the tried and true home remedies ever get written down, or were they passed across time through oral tradition?

How would this look in the medicine that we practice?

Is it that when a person consulted a practitioner, whatever era, they do/did whatever they could at home first, and after waiting and seeing – then gradually going up the lines of intervention, till eventually the local medicine man/woman is /was sought after?

What this may mean is that a lot of assumed knowledge contained within the culture of Chinese medicine is not only missing due to the language and intercultural dislocation, but also – there is a level at which the books and paid employment starts from.

Maybe before this – it is embedded within the culture and the language and the assumed practices. It may well be that a lot of what was originally passed down is now not – due to a number of ’modern’ influences. Often information falls in and out of fashion . .

We can tell that even in our food production/consumption – and the state of home gardening/ preserves. Who does now know how to feed their family without shops?

Our forebears grew what they needed to eat – and we all now go to the local supermarket. Having become so highly dependent on others, we are now also unable to go back to basics if needed. Is there even the space around the home dwelling to do so?

This can be seen to have happened in all human endeavours – where if lucky, we may have retained one or two skills – sewing our own clothes/curtains or repairing metal/wood implements?

When looking at information regarding any topic – we may have technology – but what about what used to be passed down as important – is it no longer so – or is it just redefined as being ‘old fashioned’ and ‘unscientific’?

We may find that over time we are thus left with just a coded system that may not hold the keys to understanding or even practicing our medicine as expected.

This is before we speak of the political changes that swept through the land and destroyed so very much of what had been revered in China – hence what is even allowed to be accessed. Some of the family traditional information was retained. Some escaped the Communist rule and made it out to the West.

Dr John Shen was one.

Dr John Shen (the founder of the pulse system Dr Leon Hammer speaks of) was most known for his pulse system.

Feel the pulse, yes;
but before that, observe the physiognomy, the stance, the smell, palpate about – everything tells us something – and without the immensity of his experience and personal observations we are left with but a few apparent gems that have been written down.

I have taken a few of the instances of teachings he gave and worked with them.

Cupping the cold out is one of these. Doing this creates a profound change – far greater than anything I have observed in my three decades of using needles or moxa alone.


When looking over a patient and their story, we could start at the beginning –

  • What is the state of Yang and Qi like?
  • What destroys Yang?
  • Is there cold within?
    It can be seen – purpling and skin colour changes
    It can be felt – just put your own (warmed) hand there – it can be pressed and you can see the circulation lag – blanching especially on the upper back shows you that Ga Sha and cupping are indicated

– but just like real moxa use (using ‘smokeless’ and heat lamps) – what is becoming of our medicine?

We can also follow the chain of symptoms – and invariably there has been all sorts of partial intervention and often with modern life – far too much iatrogenesis.

Do we wrack our brain – which category of disharmony / TCM box do they fit into – then which point?

But before we think of points – we could think homeostasis
– why is the body displaying symptoms at all?

  • Are we trying to help the body to get on with its own business?
  • What is stopping it from removing the cold itself?
  • Has it not got systems in place?
  • Why are these not mobilised?
  • Do we even know how the body heals itself?
  • Has the westernisation/ medicalisation of our healing system been contaminated by/been infiltrated THAT much into acupuncture theory that we see only a condition and then look for the points to ‘fix’ it?

This is not and never was how Chinese medicine worked.  It may well be how it is now – but surely we can re-educate ourselves through seeing results NOT happening in practice, and take a look back into the past?

We could see how very few people are actually living according to the way of the Tao.

Are we listening to our bodies – life is too frenetic and money is to be made – we all seem to try to ‘catch up’ when we feel the need to rest . . .

Looking at some of what modern life brings – refrigeration and climate control, we can start to see what is happening to our Yang. Those who lived with nature knew that not respecting nature and the body brought catastrophe soon after.  (‘Old wives tales’).

Hence in our culture we had such things to look out for as sitting on cold concrete (would cause piles), washing our hair when having a period (would cause really bad menstrual pain from then on – as it would should you live in unheated northern hemisphere and only have access to an outside pump of freezing water in the cold winds).

Even having our waists exposed – would give us ‘cold in the kidneys’ for sure . . . now in the days of antibiotics and vaccinations and drugs for most eventualities – most do not understand the interplay between the micro climates and the health or disease we may enjoy/suffer from.

Most mums just knew to bring the kids in from playing when the sun started to go down as ‘the cold night air’ would encourage coughing and so on.

No clothes to be put away to be worn after washing unless ‘aired’ – as in the temperate regions the damp would get cold and would be transferred into the body  and no body could sustain that insult so next to the skin.

Now we MAY have clothes driers and may have forgotten our gran’s’ habits – yet they were based on acute observation and protection of the inner core.

In first year acupuncture we teach that the ‘causes of disease’ are internal (emotional generation/lack of expression) and external (climatic infiltration).

Cold can enter in incremental portions through life style choices – a fan overhead when sleeping, working/sleeping in a draft, always going out with wet hair, having cold flooring and walking around barefooted – these all add up. Remember the ‘old wives’ tales’? they all warned against the climates attacking – and all were discounted when science took hold . . . but they were rooted in human observation – people may not have had the understanding of ‘why’ – but knew what not to do.

The eBook Cold Is Not a Woman’s Friend’  is printed out for my clinic – so people understand how other people’s stories are really their own – what they are doing in their daily life to contribute to being unwell – still – even after the best treatments from us.  Whilst the cup is on their belly (and this is often for an hour) it is a wonderful tool to explain WHY it is so important to keep the Yang intact – in layperson’s terms. I would suggest that you go for the whole package as the printing of what is essentially easily understood theory is interesting, entertaining and allows for much discussion – so all feel as though they are in tune with what you are trying to do.

There is therapeutic cold – everyone is told to ice everything so you don’t feel it – forgetting that the pain is there to signal a problem – and that the intentional application of cold is actually causing further damage.

It MAY feel good (as in numb) immediately – but the invasion of the cold energy when the body was already upset can only cause further and long term effects that were not there before. Our patients may have had a lot of cold applied and may not think to tell us.

Working in Brisbane (Australia) where women are liberally attacked with ice all through the labour and lactating processes, it is not usual to miss this – and even those who are trained as acupuncturist do not get how dangerous this is and agree to – ice on breasts and perineums immediately after birth.

This causes lifelong problems that are invisible unless we know what to look for. Dr Shen said cold lodges indefinitely in the stomach, intestines and uterus. This is as well as taking up residence where we can actually SEE it – on the upper back – on the skin ..(Gua Sha)

There is also the matter of raw, cold foods and juices on an empty stomach, long spaces between meals, and the chilled water and fruit that people chose, or have only as the options to select when eating out.

The epidemic of sub clinical ‘hypothyroid’ (see all the miseries that yang deficiency cause – not so as to kill us but to make life difficult – think of all the Spleen Qi and Yang deficient scenarios; especially those that visit women post birth – digestive /energy/ tissues, organs and blood falling down/out and the generalised lack of oomph – including any interest in or ability to enjoy sex.

Not necessarily mentioned in Chinese texts, or even in the average clinic – but it is there as a significant relationship issue.


Possibly as these avenues are not where the clinically effective practitioners are to be found. Just as in the case of Western medicine, ‘TCM’ is in a very young phase (it is not as practiced in the classics, or intended as the sages wrote it) and is still in its adolescence – wisdom takes longer to arrive than the publications of reams of data would indicate.

What IS found in the current crop of politically correct published information and what is taught in colleges, is how to follow the western ways of thinking – linear and to a destination.

This is not the gift of energy medicine, or of East Asian medicine.

Asking questions of the body itself – through using or own senses will give us as practitioners far better information and hence knowledge on where to go next to help the sufferer. As a pragmatic healer, I have been asking questions of the medicine in clinic – and following what I feel to do.

I am sure all who passed before me also discovered what I have – it is not divinely inspired – just needs us to think and act as we see fit.

With a bit of a hand from stunning sources – watching a few masters at work, I have diligently continued on with what I see working.  



As I have been using this technique in clinic for over the past three decades, it would appear to my patients as though I am fixated upon this. Regardless of what someone comes in for, (initially I did not treat pregnancy with this – then till about 4 months pregnant, and now every one with a cool/cold pregnant belly gets this does as so very often the physio has gotten them to ICE their pubic sympysis pain away) I cup out the underlying cold as the Yang needs restoring in most. . .

I do this first if indicated – no point in mentally ‘diagnosing’ – as there is cold there so the yang is not capable of working properly. Whatever is the point when the body is blocked from working well? Like the presence of scars – however small – the acupuncture charts on the walls show what energy lines do – and what is blocked needs removing to allow the body to do what it is designed to do.

Irrespective of what condition they come in with, if any aspect of the three heater is cold to touch – especially if the belly/down to the pubic bone (often very chilly around Cv 2) is cold – I attend to this first.

If I did not – how would we expect to be able to mobilise the Qi and the Yang – unless we liberate what is obstructing normal?

TheYang is keeping the invading cold energy out of general circulation.

Often this is all that is needed and a profound treatment result occurs –just because we have then allowed the body to repair itself.  It may have only needed this assistance.


 “They packed her perineum in ice for the last few hours of labour”

Why did they do this?   –   It was swollen.

Besides not being able to push her baby out, this woman had a massive haemorrhage a day after having her Caesarean.

She no doubt has considerable issues arising from icing her core, at the time when her being was working its hardest, and she was at her most vulnerable.

What is happening in our hospitals?

Cold enters – not just because of the rigid air conditioning.

Operations are conducted on cold (metal) gurneys – ice is offered to suck instead of sips of water – and all fluids are straight from the fridge and stored in the very chilly rooms patients have to live in.

Ice packs are used not just for acute injuries of the joints – these has become treatment of choice – and offered for all.

  • Painful full/engorged milky breasts?
    At the time, it may feel wonderful – but why is there an explosion of mastitis?
  • Disturbed perineum after a vaginal delivery?
    Iced peri pack will ease it – and now – swollen labia prior to birthing – just freeze it . . .
  • Increased incidence of post natal infections/incontinence/secondary infertility?
    No relationship?
  • What are we doing ignoring the invasions of cold as causes of further diseases for people when they seek our help for supposed unrelated issues?
  • What are we going to do about removing the lodged cold visitor?

Below is a practical workshop that allows techniques for commonly conceived cold to gracefully exit.


  1. What it does – how we can recognise it
  2. What we can do to remove
  3. Why we need to remove it
  4. What happens next?
  5. Then what is there to look at?

(possibly then wait and see if we do need to do what looked apparent before – diagnosis could PRECEDE the text TCM organ pathologies, and look to what has actually happened to create the problems on this particular body/soul in front of us).

Questions we could ask . . .

Why Be Bothered?

(After all this is not mentioned in printed texts)

Assumed knowledge – we all would be taught this at the feet of our forebears as a life skill?

Where is anything about undoing the life that has placed the person to us – if we individualised the treatment incorporating what is written as a guide in where we might hone our diagnosis down the track, it is my contention that we would be far better clinicians.

All treatment requires the body to repair itself – all we do is remove blockages to healing.

What is blocking this?

Were cold to be lodging, without us going off to look specifically for it, it will persist.

The usual labelled thinking required to use the textbooks and protocols may be totally inappropriate – first clear out what is disabling the inner healing.

What is stopping THIS body from working?

(How Does The Body Repair Itself?)

These days rest and regeneration is not even happening when people have ’a holiday’ – if such a thing occurs – they are all too busy rushing about. We at least could set up the conditions where Yang Qi might be more mobile .

What does YANG Qi do?

  • Digestive fire – needs to be protected to provide life
  • Thyroid and other metabolic issues
  • Circulation and eventual degenerative changes if damaged.
  • All aspects of Spleen Qi holding
  • Immune/Wei /Lung Qi strength
  • Reproductive & sexual ‘oomph’
  • Fluid transformation

What wastes Yang – cold

Causes of disease from first year teaching?  External invasion – and this is also a micro climatic influence  … .small accumulations over time – life just goes in – and we call it ‘aging’. .. .

 How Do We Get Cold (Therapeutically)

  1. Ice physically placed on everything acute.
  2. Cold (straight out of fridge – whereas used to have blood warmers) blood replacement / nasal gastric feeding etc
  3. Vibrational effects of medications – insulting body with cold = eg antibiotics . . .
  4. Air conditioning far too cold for the weakened, vulnerable ill and wounded who there for apparent healing and comfort.
  5. Actual cold connection – in lying on metal, and having metal in
  6. Fed and watered with chilled products . . . et al

What the person may complain of (if asked)

  • Cold bum /feet especially at night (Sleeping partner complains)
  • Never being able to have warmer feet that then cause then to feel always cold.
  • Can’t seem to get warm/always the first to put a jumper on
  • All gyne issues that feels better with heat.
  • Digestion not OK

What may lead you to this independently

  • Anything you are listening to that is due to lack of Qi/Yang may point you in this direction first.
  • Any musculo skeletal issue that responds to heat/moxa.
  • Anything that you were planning to assist with moxa.
  • What you will notice if you look for it.

A cool or very cold to touch abdomen – may be just the CV 2 area – may be all through the belly, or may be just the middle heater area. If no cold and the above is present, you can always cup the navel (if not that phase of moon  see elsewhere) and see if (when left on a few minutes) it starts the drawing out process.

Possibly a cold patch somewhere else on the body.

What to do?

This needs addressing/moving before you do any diagnosis – at this moment all you will be diagnosing is the effects of cold on this person at this time.




Upper back Scraping and cupping
Hands & feet/
bum at night/
general chilliness
Cup navel / then moxa on ginger & salt

This cold energy stays put, creating a sink for the Yang Qi. Substantial amounts of warming Yang Qi have be internally side-lined to ensure that the cold is encapsulated, and that it does not migrate elsewhere to cause havoc.

Thus eventually can create any number of other Yang Qi deficiency conditions – and all that started it was .  . an invasion of cold that is lodging. This is not mentioned in texts, so it is glossed over like most other life events and residues that stop us seeing what is actually happening for  the person, as we are trying to place them within a boxed categorisation, as  recently our published works and academic courses have been discounting life.

What happened I suspect was that this was assumed knowledge.

Removing stored cold allows the body to get out ‘from under’.

This is the most powerful treatment I have ever done on anyone.

It is instant – the person feels the changes as they happen.

If you know what to look for, you will see those showing up in most patients – and not always the first time you see them.

A lot of cold drinks and general life incidents (IVF transfer being a very topical example) create this weakness.  It needs addressing first – as all other things flow from there.

It is not necessarily that anything untoward will show on the tongue, or the pulse – the person may well be coming in for very hot problems, especially being Yin Xu, as the case I will outline below..

CASE STUDY  Ron (76):

  • Came in with BURNING feet problems.
  • 20 years duration.
  • Burning such that he freezes them at night – and has done for years.
  • Walking around on frozen ground/frost for 30 minutes so perhaps could get to sleep before burning started up. If not – water bottle from freezer. . . .
  • Aching/sharp pains in feet and legs
  • Spurs on soles of feet.
  • Many ops on legs from All Black days.
  • Car accident – leg broke, rest, in traction, traction collapsed and rebroke leg.
  • Car ran over him at 12 and broken vertebra in lower back.
  • Itches all the time, esp at night and on the chest and back – chemical/mining legacy.
  • Legs burnt in mining fire/skin cancers/
  • much of life in very cold waters as a fisherman (West Coast/glacial fed)
  • Pants soaked in oil and set alight accidentally
  • Macular degeneration, prostatic rebore,
  • Several hernias, and ops for them,
  • Reflux and on medication for this.
  • History of severe PTSD – mine rescue worker
  • Large personality/emotional issues as a result.
  • Very difficult to sleep and refuses medication
  • Very red deeply cracked tongue.


  • Remove cold from body – to allow the yang to circulate.(cupping navel protocol)
  • Calm the Shen as severely depressed and shocked
  • Build up Yin

He came specifically complaining of an at least ten year old problem with burning feet – so bad that he would go outside in the frosty ground, and walk around for at least 30 minutes until he could not feel them – every night. He would then go inside and hopefully be asleep before the burning started back up again. If this failed there was a full hot water bottle in the freezer to put them up against- as an ice block. So what about his metabolic and protective Qi?

Where we could go wrong here is try to treat the symptoms.

In his case there were quite a few. He had been a mine rescue worker, and in one remarkable event he was the guy racing in, as everyone else was streaming out for their lives  and in one incident (Strongman mine disaster) he had to carry what was left of his 19 dead mates out.

The chemical toxicity of his employment meant also that he had major itching over his upper body, again at night, and had a plethora of sequalae on all levels post trauma (forty years before).  Also had such burning on discharge of sperm that sex had been too excruciating since 35 years before – so his emotional distress had no outlet (wife left him, he wouldn’t take medications to ‘control’ his P.T.S.D. – so refusing antidepressants and could not sleep or function stably).

Before we try to ‘diagnose’ through a stylised theoretical system, we could just start by getting rid of some of the things that are stopping his body from working.

Question NOT asked . . .

Which recently published acupuncture text talks of the toxic soup which is our biosphere that we all are trying to survive within? The accumulations from the global use of the air and the sea as a waste disposal unit have meant we are all, at the every least, under hormonal disruption. Whilst Rome is burning we are all feasting – which ‘infertile’ couple does not have underlying estrogen dominance related issues?  Who is mentioning this in gyne texts?

Whilst it may not be specifically covered in the classics, it unfortunately is rising in dominance in all of our dealings with life, and thus in clinic. We all have chemical toxins within – we could start with the amalgams our maternal beginnings washed us with.

Then the mercury and other preservatives in all the vaccinations we have all encountered and which we give out so fearfully disregarding what nature intended for our immune systems to work through (think yang qi again). These are mentioned under the category of ‘miscellaneous’ in any teaching of ’causes of disease’.

Toxic residue impedes normal. It needs removing or at least neutralising.

The use of the acupuncture body of knowledge is theoretical. We have no ‘evidence’ past when we expect something to happen, and we act accordingly, it tends to. As we are all is anecdotal, moon phase changes, how we feel, temperature of the day relative to the expected climate etc – all is unique.

Within this, there are rules of thumb…

One of these is that cold causes contraction and hardness as it stops normal circulation.  It thus wastes Yang Qi.

How so?

By keeping a lot of what should be in storage and in circulation going about normal metabolic processes, busy with the ‘cold splinters’ it has to keep separate from the general mechanics.

It was always taught (prior to TCM) that the role of the Eight Extra meridians acting as a reservoir – but in this case I would say that Ron was all full up – and with nowhere else to go, the toxic overflow issues have created immense heat (how much fluid would be needed to isolate the damaging chemicals, plus heat from fires and smoke inhalation over the decades?) that it has wasted his yin and thus given rise to the burning feet – at night.


The Transformative Healing pack is how to really understand this – as my ‘take’ on acupunture is not what you are used to – and inner medicine (TCM) is a long way from where you may need to work now.

I have here as the clinical understanding you have of the 8 Extras may well shift when exposed to the 3 hour condensed presentation from his works – (it used to be over a full weekend) . . .and see how a different methodology for point selection, even seeing what is happening in a body can alter just with a change in perspective . .)

Starting with the belly, (and Ron’s was very icy – all of it – including the very oedematous gut that it was) and discovering cold there, we can begin with the removal of pernicious influences. Many, as Ron did, may have put the cold in as a self medication.

Whatever the reason, the belly is the seat of our Three Heater. If the oven temperature is not sufficient, we do not get the baked product we intended to have.

So too, if we persist in cooling our core down, however we try to ‘feel better’ – we will end up with the insidious yang and metabolic issues that most do come in with (that we are ignoring as the texts/training do not mention them).


  1. Do not do this on an umbilical hernia – I am not sure if even a healed one should have this done, as the cup’s suction does NOT have to be extremely tight to be effective. But it does pull a little. .
  2. Do not do this a day past half moon going up or a day before half moon going down – the moon phase is a powerful and not usually mentioned variable. This is important – see why here.

I regularly did this immediately after IVF transfer as everyone seems to get so cold – or maybe it is just a function of their weakened yang).  I say this as you need to be very sensitive to what is normal and what is not in this therapy prior to starting in on everyone .

CUPPING NAVEL – WHAT TO DO – 2010 edition

  1. (Also watch above)
  2. If there is a navel ring, I used to get her remove it (and try and get her to forget about it being replaced).
  3. Ensure that the room is warm, and that there are enough covers to keep the patient warm whilst you are removing latent cold.
  4. Demonstrate by placing your warm hand on the different parts of the body that there is in fact cold there – other areas will have the same hand feel cool that feels so warm on their cold places.  This is important as it is sometimes a challenging treatment and they need to feel the differences before and after. (Digitech infra red non contact thermometer now).
  5. Have no needles in – this is a very powerful treatment, which stands alone.
  6. Warm and dry a large cup.  Do not try to remove cold with a cold cup – you will be allowing more in.
  7. Oil around the navel.  If a hairy man, lots of oil – you need the suction to stay strong for the duration of the treatment.  Sometimes I have gotten the man to shave around it but over oiling is enough.
  8. Get a (preferably pre warmed) 50 cent piece and place it in a tissue – the cheapest/less luxuriant) are the best.  Twirl the tissue around, so it has a tail, and tear off what would possibly curl over when lit.
  9. Warn the patient that this will be alarming, to relax and to not watch, if a bit nervy.  Tell them in advance that the cup will pull greatly, as though it is trying to pull out the belly, and that it is quite safe. (I usually give them fascinating reading to distract them at this point).
  10. Place the tissue wrapped coin on the navel (to stop essential Qi from escaping) and light it.
  11. When the tissue is well lit, place the warmed cup over it, so it sucks up very quickly.  If it smoulders for a while, it was a good practice run, and repeat with a new tissue.  You are after a very strong suction.
  12. If far too tight, lift the lip of the cup very slowly to expel a little of the suction.
  13. Explain that this is a very strong treatment, as the cup will be on as long as the pulling sensation that starts soon and/or the belly is finally warmed up. Suction does not need to be tight – the treatment is profound anyway).
  14. Often, the pulling sensations (forget the navel, it is just a distraction) start in a few minutes – and it could be from anywhere, and they change location as the cold is removed.  I always give them a variety of locations, to allow them to not panic when whatever happens for them does.
  15. By checking every few minutes (and sometimes this has taken 30 minutes to settle down) ensure that your hands are warm first.  To remove the cup; wipe off the oil and place warmed palm on the navel.  If the skin is very cold, optimally you would have had some salt warming in a tissue, next to your skin, or theirs.
  16. Put the warmed salt filled tissue on their navel.  Have the punk moxa burning outside – a tightly packed small pyramid of it – have it on a thin slice of ginger so you have  a foundation (useful) to bring the then non longer burning moxa inside. (See footage below)
  17. Continue with a number of pyramids – 3 /5/7  THEN see what may next need doing.
  18. Often nothing. It is a profound change and something to get used to.
  19. Instruct the person as to avoidance of cold – hopefully they will have been grilled as to how it happened in the first place. There is no point in taking out problems for them to recreate them.If there is repeat cold, there must be instructions kept, not just listened to.
  20. This is where the reading of the Cold is Not a Woman’s Friend eBook(It is the same book for men and women – as men have wives, mums, daughters, sisters, workmates who are doing all the things I suggest will wreck the Yang Qi also). This is an entertaining way to get the roots of their illness altered. They need to make the shifts to ensure what they have been doing does not recreate what they do not want.
  21. Preparing moxa on ginger slices:


1 – RON

After the first cupping, his belly was still cool, but not as freezing. I then got him (after navel full of salted moxa) to roll over and I extensively used moxa on Bl 13, 20 Gv 3, 4 and any other lower sacral points. When he rolled back again, the belly was vastly better, and his tongue was not as deeply crevassed or as bright shiny red.

So it could be asked – how did this happen?
Answer is simply that once what is blocking NORMAL is removed, then the body has a ‘fighting chance’ . . . This is instantly replicable – I have been watching this normalisation process for over 30 years now, and it would seem that unless we look back to the basics, the real healing is unable to happen.

The perverse energy is going to show up if we use the right ‘lenses’ for our glasses – vision – we need to look at the obvious first.

Over the next few weeks, Ron reported a massive reduction in the perverse heat and all other symptoms were eased with the use of herbs to help the Liver Qi and depression.


As I have been using this technique in clinic for most of my clinical life, it would appear to my patients as though I am fixated upon this. If they have come from another practitioner no-one has ever yet reported  that this has been done on/for them. In older times it would have happened at home and maybe no need to seek professional assistance . . so here we are turning back to the clock – and hopefully the need to do anything – just rescue their Yang Qi and it can sort itself out form there.

As I mainly work in Brisbane, where the weather is oppressively hot and humid for most of the year, and a bit brisk in the mornings of the mild winter we have, there is plenty of call for removal of cold., as it is ingested/breezed upon and otherwise ignored – so it can go within and start wrecking their body and its defences.

Drinking chilled water, and storing fruit in the fridge creates a large reservoir in most that is blocking normal Qi and Blood flow – allowing lots of menstrual and digestive issues.

Most wear as little as possible and find themselves in savage air conditioning in their daily lives.
In cooler climates (when I am in NZ) I notice that people are more sensible about life style choices, as the weather is an obvious factor there, and also everyone has had drummed into them as a child about drafts, cold night air and such like.  They have more self awareness and self protective habits.

2 – JO (34)
After first baby (IVF), a dreadful twin miscarriage where THREE D & C’s were finally performed, and then an ectopic pregnancy (IVF is currently running a 6-7% ectopic rate here in Brisbane) there was a dislocation of self. She had very poor circulation to her extremities, and a very cool belly.

First treatment – remove the cold – then maybe the circulation will return to normal.

During cupping she felt an incredible variety of spots where the pulling was happening, and was absolutely rapt, as her digits all warmed up. She then went downstairs, where I can moxa and we did the moxa sacral fan.

What a remarkable transformation – she had her body all back again.

Her complexion stopped being the pale and bright that the texts would have us think is qi deficiency and she looked remarkably alive.

3 – MICHELLE (40) 

“My daughter was born just over four years ago via C-Section. 

This wasn’t elective, I have a bi-cornuate uterus and my daughter wasn’t only lying in a breach position but in an “L” shape. 

Since the operation, my uterus had felt like a lead weight – it was always there, always heavy.  By that I mean I could feel my uterus ALL THE TIME, where with other parts of my body I don’t notice them unless I touch them or they’re doing something. 

I knew this wasn’t “right” but couldn’t get anyone to listen to me, so just accepted that this was part of “my lot” in having to have had a C-Section. 

On top of that, ever since the birth of my daughter, having an orgasm just wasn’t the same.  It was a similar sensation to that when I was pregnant – my uterus sort of went tight and the orgasm most times just disappeared.

Again I just thought this was obviously part of the deal of childbirth. 

Since having acupuncture my uterus is “gone” – it’s just normal. 

The heaviness, the lead weight is gone and I don’t feel it anymore unless I have my period and even then my period pain has reduced to almost nothing where previously I needed a hot water bottle. 

And best of all – I’ve had the first orgasm since before I got pregnant that made me go AHHH!  The tightness has gone and I have a full orgasm”.  

So what did I do?

Undid this part of her life

  • – the scar and the freezing belly (they check to see if the anaesthetic is covering her by putting ice on the skin . . . )
  • – so yes there was  cupping first, then scar needling – as I will cover in a separate article.

The use of Eight Extra theory and accumulation points is central to the follow-up on the cupping belly cases.

4 – PATTI (50) 

Had a horse fall on her and tear away a muscle 9 years ago.
The stirrup was embedded in the leg.

This all resulted in colossal haematoma, and total leg bruising and dysfunction.

This was followed up with two more incidents where the same area was traumatised – a motor bike was smashed into it and then she fell badly and the specific area was re injured.

Prior to this she had suffering frostbite on her toes and although they were looking like they always did, the circulation was always reduced from then on.

When she was 12 years old, very badly gnarled feet – bunions – were corrected, leaving her with two large scars on each Spleen and Stomach channel – these were attended to the initial treatment.

After an initial acupuncture treatment to free up the circulation (see Moving Blockages 2) a cup was placed upon her navel.

This was not the first treatment as at the initial treatment, she had a warm belly – I expected to start there – but her body pointed me to the issue that obsessed her first.

She felt vastly better after the initial needling and moxa, and I suspect that in her case the very stuck qi needed shifting first.

After the cup went on – and it wasn’t the tightest by any means – she had it on for some time (20 minutes or so).  As happens, it kept on shifting different areas and I waited until she felt it had stabilised.

At this time, warm towels or whatever that keeps the person snug is absolutely essential – as there is NO POINT in trying to remove embedded cold when they are getting another invasion – the same goes for any therapeutic intervention – “first do no harm” means us – is the room ambient enough?

Her stunned expression – followed many others

  • – am I really feeling this?
  • Could it be that it is coming from . .  . ?

She explained later that it was a lot gentler than the sensations of energy mobbing about with the needles.  It only came from her lower body and moved around – sometimes slowing right up and she would think it had finished then it started up again.

Her feet were ‘as warm as toast’ and over several days she kept commenting that they were very different – and she could feel them better than she had been able to.

5 – ELLE (42) 

Felt all wrong – and couldn’t put her finger in it. She felt totally out of sorts. In the first treatment her focus was the gut – she felt nothing worked the way it should.
Her circulation had always been poor and cold hands and feet were with her all year around. Whilst this could be a thyroid deficiency – and there were numerous signs there – it is also a yang circulatory issue.

She fell on a rock several years previous and since then had had a shoulder/neck injury that plagued her. It interfered with her breathing and altogether upset the right thoracic area and up her spine. I started with the cup on the navel – and attended to the C scar later. She couldn’t believe what she was feeling – and afterwards explained that the whole time it was drawing from her shoulder.

The biggest issue was that her feet warmed up – and she felt a lot warmer from then on.

We know that Qi has to move.
We know that Yang has a lot to cover in a body.

When we see that things have slowed down – we could investigate how we could assist the body to help itself rather than expecting this point to do that – as though this was the only intervention we have at our disposal.

Prior to the very recent reliant-on-science-and-data and ‘evidence based medicine’ times, people had common sense. If a person had an invasion of cold they would know about it and would expect their practitioner to address this. We as a culture may be divorced from common sense and nature’s logic, BUT it was originally in our medicine embedded in the culture itself. The omission of these basic and easy and instant techniques is understandable. It does seem old fashioned/down on the farm – and seems not to give academic kudos. We could say the same with Gau Sha – and yet both cupping the cold from navels and this ancient home Asian remedy are profound in what they can achieve.

As Dr Shen would say – ‘always, always, always follow life’.


Years ago I paid attention to the women who are going in for embryo transfer.  They were showing up AFTER the transfer with a very cold belly – whereas all through their prior treatment with me I have ensured that a cold uterus was NOT one of their conditions.

After at least half of them arrived post transfer with a cool belly, I started warning all of needing to rug up and of also using moxa on the sacrum prior to transfer if I was not seeing them first. (See Moving Blockages 3 – getting the Yang moving again) Of course the warning about not heating up the core is leaving many with mixed messages – but then we are missing the cold stored/less than optimal Yang Qi function – showing through the lower BBT being than optimal.

Please go back to basics. That it is not in the published works may only mean that we are putting far too much emphasis on following the medicalised versions of what we can do – as evidenced by the flush of ‘infertility’ texts out there in the past ten years –  rather than actually reporting what is really going on at the coal face, with the patients and us missing the obvious is not really a good look. Life experience from the older practitioners as Dr John Shen is still available for us to springboard from.

Please also look at the practitioner tools, where these and other techniques are covered, and available in the context of modern clinical practice.

Watch me explaining how to cup the belly

Historical interest – these were put up in 2006.

Watch Heather preparing moxa on ginger slices:


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