Using the Abdomen for Diagnosis

Using the Abdomen for Diagnosis

 – by Alice Louey

The abdomen provides a lot of information upon gentle palpation.  I use this when there are digestive, stress, energy, menstrual or fertility issues to identify specific areas that need treatment.  Treatment may involve a number of different modalities:  moxa,  cupping,  acupuncture,  shiatsu/acupressure releases,  and/or Chinese herbal formulas.  

Temperature Variations: Most people who come in with the above issues don’t realise that they may have temperature variations in their abdomen which can indicate areas where there may be energy blockages. Palpation identifies these variations and helps your practitioner diagnose and address the source of your symptoms.

Tight Areas: Often people have become so used to feeling tightness under their ribs that they assume this is normal and may not even notice it. Actually it’s a result of stress which can also cause bloating. Stress can cause blockages/stagnation within the body and can be resolved by treatment with herbs, massage, and acupuncture to improve energy flow. Treatment can help clients feel more comfortable and look slimmer.

Tender Areas: In some cases even gentle pressure on the abdomen causes sensitivity. Again, this can be a sign of some kind of blockage/stagnation within the body and is often associated with symptoms such as digestive problems and menstrual pain which can be associated with stress and fertility concerns.

Depending on how deeply ingrained the pattern of disharmony has become and how long it has been present, sometimes things resolve within a single treatment session, while at other times it may take a course of treatments.  As always, treatments are individualised for each client. In addition to the treatment you receive at the clinic you will often be offered personalised advice on diet, self-massage, acupressure, herbal prescriptions and other opportunities to help your body heal faster.



What happened to this post-menopausal woman with knee and lower back pain, and morning stiffness when her practitioner added moxibustion (moxa) to her treatment mix?

Eliza had assumed that her symptoms were just part of life postmenopause and she assumed that her only option was to put up with them for the rest of her life and take medication when the pain became unbearable.

Lower back pain and knee pain plus the morning stiffness told Eliza’s practitioner that her kidney energy was weak. This is a normal part of the ageing and signs include grey hair, osteoporosis and memory loss. You can’t reverse these effects, but you can slow down the process, especially if you stimulate the energy early.

Eliza’s practitioner used moxa needles in the kneecap, as well as in energy points in the lower back to add warmth and energy in these areas.

After the first treatment Eliza found it easier to walk up and down stairs without pain. When she came back for her third treatment she was ecstatic! Her pain was virtually gone, and she just felt occasional postmenopause stiffness in the morning.

Now she gets top-up sessions every 6 weeks and finds that is sufficient to keep her free from pain and stiffness – as she says, “I feel years younger!”

Moxa Power

Moxa Power

Acupuncture is like a plumber unblocking your drains.  Whereas, Moxibustion (Moxa) strengthens your immune system, lifts your energy, and warms the body by increasing your life force.


An Old Story About the Power of Moxa: Once a man was pulled from the water in China,who had just drowned. A Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner was there and, anxious to spare the man’s family, he set to work to restore his life energy. Since acupuncture just causes the energy that is already there to flow, he used moxibustion to lift the energy in the body and the man was restored to life.

MoxibustionWhat is Moxa?  Moxa is actually produced from the leaves of an amazing plant called artemesia vulgaris or Mugwort widely used in treating malaria and other diseases.

It comes in tiny pellets, cones, and sticks, and can be applied to the end of acupuncture needles, or placed on a slice of ginger on a bed of salt, or the sticks can be burned close to the area needing stimulation. The smell can be likened to burning marijuana, which often attracts curious comments when new clients visit the clinic. Care needs to be taken when treating patients with respiratory problems as it can create a lot of smoke.

What Does Moxa Do? It strengthens your immune system, and elevates your Qi energy.  Moxibustion is widely used in Chinese medicine with pregnancy because of its power to turn breech babies and relieve pain – especially chronic, stubborn pain that doesn’t respond to other things. Some western doctors are also using moxibustion to turn breech babies. Burning moxa during an acupuncture session is like giving your body a turbo blast – your energy is not just unblocked, it is increased as well!


Moxa Stick Client Story

Moxa Stick Client Story

The marvellous thing about Traditional Chinese Medicine is that it includes many different modalities, such as acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, gua sha and massage. This gives the flexibility to provide a customised treatment plan that best suits each individual, and which can evolve based on your specific needs.

Client Story:

Christine was visiting the clinic for neck and foot problems. Her practitioner was providing a combination treatment with both massage and acupuncture. Although Christine responded well to the massage and relaxed easily into the treatment, she seemed to be less comfortable with the acupuncture and was not getting the anticipated results.

So the suggestion was made to use moxibustion (moxa) instead of acupuncture. This involved the skilful use of a moxa stick above and around the affected areas, and also the related pressure points. The result was that Christine relaxed quickly into the moxibustion treatment and was able to receive the full benefit of the treatment.

At Bing’s Natural Health we focus on YOU, rather than just administering a treatment. We look at the whole person – including your past, present and body type. Finding the appropriate modality for each client is the essence of our practice. Talk to your practitioner about the most appropriate modality for you.

Massage South Melbourne

Massage South Melbourne


At the Bing’s Natural Health massage clinic in South Melbourne we believe that massage is a powerful tool for healing and wellness, to help you achieve relaxation, relief from pain and postural improvement. We have many years of experience working with a wide range of clientele to meet your needs and get you feeling better.

Rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit with a relaxing and healing massage.

Our massages include:

  1. Shiatsu Massage
  2. Chinese Massage
  3. Therapeutic Massage
  4. Pregnancy Massage
  5. Combination Massage
  6. Sports Massage
  7. Foot Massage

which can all be used in combination with Chinese medicineacupuncture,  moxibustion,  cupping  and  Chinese herbs.

Through the healing touch of massage therapy the body has an innate ability to restore itself, improve circulation, detoxify, relieve tension, improve digestion, enhance muscle tone, and increase mental alertness, while relieving pain and stiffness.

Your massage therapist will ask you to fill out a health history and then ask some questions. Sometimes a single therapy, or just one approach will not suit everyone. So we may blend the skills and philosophies of different therapy approaches to provide you with a treatment that best suits your specific needs.

As an added benefit, all of the Bing’s Natural Health massages include some form of acupressure and acupressure massage, which is a recognised and helpful traditional Chinese medicine technique.