October has arrived and Calgary is in full-blown fall. The temperature has dropped, and the wind has picked up, making this a great month to focus on the dreaded flu and cold season! Because we all want to avoid getting sick this fall/winter time, and because the Spa’s annual Detox with our Holistic Nutritionist, Janna Hattingh, happens this month, I have decided to focus on Cupping Therapy! You may wonder what these things have in common, and I am here to fill you in!
Many of my Acupuncture clients have already had the privilege of experiencing this ancient technique, and for those who haven't, it’s an experience unlike any other. Cupping has been linked to lowering blood pressure, draining excess fluids and toxins, stimulating the peripheral nervous system, breaking down adhesion and revitalizing connective tissues. There are many different styles of Cupping, ranging from flash cupping, for things like cellulite reduction, to moving cupping, for tight muscles and fascia, to stationary cupping, to flood an area with blood, to wet or bleeding cupping, which we use for issues such as tennis elbow, acne or eczema.
Along with the different styles, there are different materials used in Cupping. Traditionally glass cups are used, with a high heat flame used to burn the oxygen inside the cup, thus creating a suction between the cup and the skin. This is still commonly used, especially for cupping treatments that deal with blood. There are also rubber cups, which I like to use over the belly or on the face. Lastly, there are hard plastic cups with a pump used to suck out the air and create a very tight suction at the skin. I like to use these when I'm working on sore back muscles or tight IP bands.
So, what is the idea around Cupping? What does it do? Well to put it quite simply, it’s a suction cup and it leaves a mark on your skin just like we used to do with cups around our mouths as kids. How can this be beneficial?? The cup is increasing the flow of blood to the area being treated, which is detoxing, it helps reduce inflammation, relaxes tense muscles, and promotes healing. The marks that appear on the surface of the skin is considered to be old, stagnant, toxic blood that is being pulled through the skin by the pressure of the cup. When we have an injury, blood flow increases to the area to begin healing, but quickly becomes stuck and toxic. When we place a cup over a sore muscle we are removing the old blood, and encouraging new fresh blood to flood the area and continue the healing process. It encourages proper flow of blood around the whole body system and helps the lymph system continue to drain effectively by removing toxic waste from the body. This is why adding a Cupping session or 2 into your detox program with Janna this month would be a great idea! Keep things moving and cleaning while you learn other ways to detox the body!
So how can cupping help boost our immune system to prevent a cold or flu, and how can it help pass a cold or flu that has already settled in, faster? Cupping is said to effect tissues up to 4 inches under the skin, so when we cup over the lungs, the tissue on and around the lungs is manipulated and stimulated, stirring up any fluid or substance that may be stuck there. When our lungs are clear, the chances of an infection growing become minimal, and if there is infected mucus residing there already, the cupping will help dislodge and expel it. In Chinese Medicine theory, Cupping is thought to open the pores of the body to allow more toxins to escape, this is why it helps in the early stages of a cold or flu, when the "bug" is considered to still be residing on the body surface. The cupping opens the pores, and promotes detox, often through sweating, and the pathogen is able to exit the body before becoming more serious and travelling into deeper levels of tissue. Our immune system is healthy when the opening and closing of our pores is being properly regulated, and Cupping is a great way to promote that function.
One of the last reasons that I really love Cupping, is because it is a totally non-invasive way to introduce a patient to Traditional Chinese Medicine! The treatments last anywhere from 15-45 minutes, depending on the area of the body being treated, and most people find it very relaxing and therapeutic. Because I want to be able to share this awesome technique with as many people as possible, help all our spa goers stay healthy this winter, and keep as many bodies in a healthy detoxed state, I am offering a free Cupping add-on to any Acupuncture session for the entire month of October! Come use your benefits and try something new!
See you at the Spa,