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Archive for Acupuncture
What are those marks on Michael Phelps? By now the public is hearing the term ”cupping.” Since I was interviewed last year by Agence France Press to do a demonstration of this procedure for their global media outreach, I will explain cupping again. Seems the sighting of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston with cupping marks on their backs had put this ancient practice in the news…You can view it at this link: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/videonetwork/2571529145001/Remedy-of-the-Stars-Cupping-Leaves-Its-Mark-on-Hollywood.
“Cupping,” is the term for an ancient Chinese technique to eliminate the stagnant blood that typically occurs around the neck and shoulders. A small glass jar with a vacuum inside creates a suction that pulls this stuck blood to the surface capillaries. From there this ‘old’ blood can easily return through the capillary system to the heart to be re-oxygenated to restore more active blood circulation. (Here Jennifer’s marks have faded from red to white.) Other partakers are Victoria Beckham and Jessica Simpson.
I did two versions in French and English, shown worldwide. A French friend caught it on TV in Brazil. In 1975, when actress Lee Grant was up to win an Oscar for “Shampoo,” she declined this treatment before the gala so as NOT to have marks. We did it the day AFTER… It took 40 years to become fashionable!
What did not get included in the segment was my contrasting of cupping with another similar technique called Gua Sah, a friction rub that achieves the same results with some added benefits. It may look dramatic but it is not painful and most of the time actually feels great even while it is being applied! And especially afterwards. As in cupping, these are not bruises–only the presence of stagnant blood come to the surface. The marks recede in a day or three, depending on one’s circulation.
In my estimation, it is more comfortable and controllable, less labor intensive and more thorough. In the news clip another acupuncturist’s cupping shows the unnecessary, potentially uncomfortable side effects. Temporary raised red welts resulted from the strong degree of suction that can hurt when pulled off. This is not necessary to achieve results.
But both techniques perform a simple yet critical action of stimulating of blood, lymph and chi circulation around the neck and shoulders, and sometimes elsewhere on the body. These trapezoid muscles work overtime to hold up the 12 pound “bowling ball” that we carry around all day. And when it is hanging over a computer or a steering wheel, the head is more the equivalent of 20 lbs…Cupping and Gua Sah to the rescue!
Why do I always include massage with acupuncture treatment? The combination of Acupuncture and Massage can accomplish more together than either separately to breathe life back into muscles. While normal muscles are able to contract and relax without restrictions, over the years they can become gummed up [thixotropy]. Without the ability to contract freely, the muscle becomes weak, tight, and often painful. Overused muscles become chronically shorter, a result of fibrous scar tissue. This then entraps the nerves running through the muscles, causing numbness and/or tingling sensations.
I apply several types of massage before and after needle or magnet application. While Acupuncture works directly on the laser beam-like meridians, GENTLE MASSAGE can nudge these muscles to let go and breathe again. My technique is to slowly allow the muscle to open up at its own speed without imposing painful pressure. Gradually I move into deeper massage that can access underlying muscle layers. I believe that ”Hurts Good” is far enough and I always listen to the patient’s feedback.
Stressed muscles can block nutrients and oxygen from getting to where they need to go, and this will cause inflammation that allows toxins to build up in your muscle tissue, a feedback loop that contributes to yet more pain and stress. The combination of Massage and Acupuncture breaks up and releases the built-up toxins. With the toxins released, blood and oxygen can circulate as they should through one’s body. Feel good endorphins are released, dopamine relaxes the brain, and the muscles then crave activity and exercise–as they did when they were part of a younger body! Start the ball rolling!
Did you know that your hand rules the brain, according to Korean Hand Acupuncture? Our human body never fails to impress us with its inner intelligence and its internal communication system. The ear, hand, and foot are each microcosms of the entire body. Each can serve as a keyboard to program and affect any other part of the body. Hand points can reveal real time information about the entire body and is a holographic record of the whole.
Hand acupuncture has developed due to the large role that the hand plays in the brain. This picture illustrates how the brain experiences the hands and mouth. The particularly high concentration of neurological connections between the hands and the brain means that the hand is the most able of all body parts to activate the brain. The brain will follow its direction and relay its neural messages to the body.
Here is an image of the cortical homunculus, a physical representation of the human body, located within the brain. The amount of brain cortex devoted to any given body region is proportional to how richly innervated that region is, not to the region’s physical size. Thus the brain devotes disproportionately larger space to the hands (grabbing, defending, feeding, working) and mouth (talking, breathing, eating, sucking).
Acupuncturist Dr. Tae Woo Yoo, OMD, Ph.D., of South Korea discovered the reflex potential of the hand and laid out the holographic mapping of the body on the hands.
For example, in Korean Hand Therapy [KHT], the little finger corresponds to the leg. Therefore, any leg problem will have a corresponding tender point on the little finger. Stimulation of that point on the pinkie will give pain relief and healing support on the leg. The most effect stimulation is the placement of a teeny magnet taped over that point, staying in place for at least 30 minutes. The treatment is simple, painless, fast acting, and easily repeated until the condition is resolved. Hands on!