There are several other modalities utilized by Oriental Medicine (OM) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that can help athletes besides acupuncture.  Some of these may be familiar, and probably most of them not:

  • Cupping
  • Moxibustion
  • Gua-sha
  • Tuina
  • TDP/Infrared Lamps
  • Plum Blossom

These modalities are often used by Acupuncturists and are included in Acupuncturist’s training/schooling. Every state has different requirements for training, so as always, it’s useful to look those up and “interview” whatever professional you decide on referring clients to or going to yourself for these treatments.

Being an avid fit pro, sports fanatic, and athlete myself, I love learning about these modalities and can’t wait to use them with my clients. These modalities differ in the philosophy used by OT’s, DT’s, DC’s, DO’s, etc who may use them. Unless these aforementioned professionals have specific training in Oriental Philosophy, they may be using similar modalities but taking a very sports medicine approach. I’m not saying one way is better than another. It’s all educational and you get to decide what to try.

Oriental Medicine Modalities

The modalities listed here are done with an Oriental Medicine mind-set of restoring balance to the body in terms of harmonizing Yin/Yang and creating a situation within the body where Qi  (pronounced “chee” and sometimes spelled as Chi as in Tai Chi) can flow freely as needed while not being to excessive, deficient, or stagnant.

These modalities can be used post-injury, to help with recovery from training days, as restorative treatments, or to support treatments being received by other practitioners.


It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The suction may facilitate healing with blood flow. Made popular by Michael Phelps in the Olympics.


This is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called “moxa” are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.


This is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation.


Tuina or tui-na (pronounced twee-nah) massage is based on the theory that imbalances of qi, which is the body’s vital life force or energy, can cause blockages or imbalances that lead to symptoms such as pain and illness. Tuina massage stimulates the flow of qi to promote balance and harmony within the body using many of the same principles of acupuncture. The goal of tuina massage is to create harmony in the yin and yang of the body by getting rid of blockages and disturbances that manifest as illness, disease, and emotional issues.

TDP/Infrared lamps

There are healing properties found in the mineral plate that provide relief from pain, inflammation, arthritis, sore muscles and joints, soft tissue injuries, sprains, scar tissue, back pain, and other similar conditions, These lamps have regeneration ability because the mineral plate adds 33 essential elements that the body may lack due to illness, accident or injury. It can also enhance body function by accelerating decomposition of unstable structures such as dead cells, and Enhances the body’s function of adjustment and immunity

Plum blossom

This also known as The Seven Star Needle, and is made of five to seven needles that are placed together at the end of a long handle. This style of superficial tapping can be used to treat skin diseases, headaches, nervous system disorders, hair loss, paralysis, and painful joints.

Having a working knowledge of the many options that are available for health, wellness, and healing is surely a valuable tool that every health and fitness professional can work to possess in the best interest of their clients.


Tdp Far Infrared Lamps

Shay Vasudeva

Shaweta “Shay” Vasudeva, MA (Psychology), MS (Kinesiology), NFPT-CPT, NASM-CPT-CES, THSA-CNT, and Tai Chi & Black Belt Karate Instructor is a teaching professional, speaker, author, coach, and cat lover! Her passion is to help people become the best version of themselves by using an interdisciplinary and holistic approach, bringing 10+ years of experience in Psychology, Personal Fitness Training, Corrective Exercise, Nutritional Coaching, Cranial Sacral Work, and teaching Karate & Tai Chi classes to her business, ShayTheCoach. Shay teaches classes at Maricopa Community College District as an Adjunct Professor. For more information visit her personal webpage: