In Vietnamese, to catch a cold is called trúng gió, to catch the wind. Cạo gió means to scrub the wind as sickness is believed to be caused by this excess wind. Coining is thought to restore balance to the body. It is mostly used in a familial environment or in Vietnam’s countryside as a traditional way to medicate a patient, typically due to the absence of a licensed doctor. Coining uses a coin and balms or oils such as tiger balm or camphor, methanol, winter green oil, and cinnamon oil. Oil is applied to the patient’s skin and then a coin is rubbed firmly in a linear motion along the spine and ribs until blood is visible under the skin. Coining is used to treat fever, headache, stiffness, dizziness, vertigo, cold, flu and nervousness.

Contraindications to coining treatments include those with heart disease, hypertension and skin disease as well as pregnant women, young children and those prone to easy bleeding.

For information on traditional medicines go to Your Guide to Saigon’s Most Popular Traditional Medicine Techniques

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