Monthly Archives: August 2015

What Is Cupping & Will You Love It?

By Jennifer Dubowsky  via MindBodyGreen.com

 

Cupping

Celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow, her husband Chris Martin, Jennifer Aniston, and Victoria Beckham are all fans of cupping. This ancient technique is becoming trendy, and while I’m not usually a follow-the-crowd kind of girl, I do appreciate good publicity for Chinese Medicine.

Cupping is an effective remedy commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the more people who know about it and appreciate the benefits, the better. The earliest written documentation of Chinese cupping dates back three thousand years, when it was recommended for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. Cupping is not exclusive to Chinese Medicine. Similar treatments have been used by ancient Egyptians, North American Indians, early Greeks, and in other Asian and European countries.

Cupping uses suction applied to glass, plastic or bamboo cups (they often look like glass jelly jars) to pull up the tissue in an affected area . The suction causes a negative pressure, and the underlying skin is raised, or sucked, partway into the cup. You’ll usually feel a tight sensation in the area of the cup, and that often feels very good. Cups are left in place for 5-20 minutes, and sometimes the cups are moved around on your back in a gliding motion. Cupping relaxes your muscles, stimulates blood flow, lymph, and Qi to the affected area and throughout your body.

One important thing to know about cupping is that although it is an effective, safe technique, you will probably be bruised afterwards. The cups leave distinctive pink, red or purple circles or streaks where they are placed. The skin discoloration may last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Generally, the bruises don’t hurt, though occasionally they may be a little sore. I always recommend that my patients drink plenty of water and take an Epsom salts bath after a cupping treatment because the salts are anti-inflammatory and can help prevent or relieve soreness. Cupping can be repeated once the marks have cleared up.

Cupping is often combined with an acupuncture treatment, but can also be used alone. It’s wonderful for treating many conditions, including stress, pain relief, allergies, flu, colds, back pain, anxiety, muscle aches, red itchy skin conditions (cups are not placed on areas of the skin that are inflamed), and fevers. Cupping also enhances circulation and pull toxins from your body’s tissues.

To some people, this may sound like an unusual treatment, but once you try it, you’ll understand why cupping is winning fans among athletes, celebrities, and all the rest of us who want to remain active and feel great.

 

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Best,
ComfortSoul

5 Vital Reasons You Should Get Massages Regularly

By Melanie Bolen

massage-300x300

Listen: I know how difficult it can be to make time for a massage. I typically treat myself only once a month or so. As I’m booking my session, I question whether or not I really need it, could I be spending that money on something else, etc. And you know the horrible thing about this? I’m a massage therapist myself.

So I get why you might not get massaged as often as you should. But the thing is, I never regret it afterwards, and consider it money well spent. There’s a new study coming out every few weeks or months now it seems, scientifically confirming what we’ve known intuitively for literally hundreds of years: Massage shouldn’t be treated so much as a luxury, but as a part of one’s wellness plan, right alongside exercise and proper nutrition.

With that said, here’s five vital reasons you should book your next bodywork session in the near future:

1. Massage Reduces Anxiety and Stress

It’s said that the vast majority of diseases and their complications are brought on by anxiety and stress. Massage has been proven to lower cortisol levels in the body while increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine, thus helping to alleviate the stress we suffer from day to day, and promoting perspective and clarity.

2. Massage Addresses Low Back Pain

Massage addresses a number of musculoskeletal issues, but let’s single out the leading cause of disability in the U.S. (according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010). Thirty-one million Americans are suffering low back pain at any given time, with over $50 million dollars spent every year spent on traditional medical treatment, worker’s compensation, and lost time from work. A 2011 study found that regular massage to the lower back can help alleviate pain, and it didn’t even matter whether it was deep tissue or lighter Swedish massage – bodywork in general to the low back is helpful.

3. Massage Enhances Immunity

Swedish and deep tissue massage promotes the movement of lymph, the body’s natural defense system.

4. Massage Reduces the Effects of Long Hours of Desk-Sitting and Driving

The most common responses I get when I ask clients what causes them the most pain are these two things. The average American worker sits 8-9 hour a day either at a computer or behind the wheel, causing shoulders to become pulled forward and rounded, upper and lower back muscles to become overstretched and weak, and that’s just what happens to the upper half of your body. Coupled with a regular exercise routine, massage can help alleviate pain, and keep those postural deviations in check.

5. Massage Helps Athletes Prepare and Recover from Events

Many of us aren’t just exercising regularly these days, but challenging ourselves with athletic events such as marathons and Iron Man competitions, and events like Tough Mudder. Massage to help recover from these events is great, but even better is incorporating it into your wellness program leading up to the big event. It will help reduce muscle soreness and tightness, and keep joints mobile and flexible.

Bonus Item!

6. Giving Massage Can Provide Just as Much Benefit and Receiving It

While I certainly do like job security, I also hate to hear when a client comes to me (and it’s almost always a female in this scenario) and complains that her spouse or boyfriend won’t give her a massage, or if he will, it’s a half-hearted five-minute one at best. Aside from the chance of bonding it provides for a couple, giving massage has been proven to lower cortisol and raise serotonin and dopamine levels in the giver as well. The most frequent excuse I hear when the guy is called out right in front of me (and yes, that happens more often than you might think) is “I’m horrible at it”. You’re probably not as horrible as you think. And if you really want some bonus points, there are a number of classes offered showing couples how to give the gift of massage to each other.

But you know, you should still make time to see your massage professional.

 

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Best,
ComfortSoul