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Tag Archive for Stress
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!
Our ancestral soul at Solstice time is geared for extra holiday joy but sometimes instead we plummet from seasonal stress, especially after the holiday. Is there a solution–even one for the whole year?
As described in my article in the Malibu Chronicle, (”Staying Balanced at the Winter Solstice, p. 49,) if our emotions are volatile and easily sabotaged, then we can look for cause and effect factors inside and out. There IS an emotional vortex in our middle section that has the potential of being boiled into a block–even though this area is called ”the solar plexus” and should have sunshine flowing out of it. Instead, this pressure cooker boiling in our middle causes heat to get trapped above.
This heat rising in the body is one of the main causal imbalances that an acupuncturist addresses. We can break up this quagmire to alleviate this polarizing of our energy. Sometimes it is just shut down–a dormant area, stifling the normal circulation of blood and chi through the body.
This dam of emotional plaque now results in a hot head and cold feet. Hot upper symptoms are headaches, heartburn, tight muscles, and even ringing in the ears, as the excess energy is under pressure above. Meanwhile below we might have low back pain, weak flaccid intestines, low libido, varicose veins, and cold feet. Heartburn, acid reflux or a hiatal hernia occur right in the emotional center.
In Part IV I will discuss how we can empty out the psychic plaque of our personal drama and be ready to refuel with these special cosmic energies pouring in all the time but especially at the Solstice season. Our solar plexus can again be a SUN radiating out to all parts of the body and out to others. The sunny chakra that knits the upper and lower halves back together. A bright solstice solar light to the world! Let’s drink to that Holiday Cheer and an amazing New Year!
Our ancestral soul at Solstice time is designed to be a blessing, not a curse. So how to avoid the Holiday blues?? While we carry on the traditions of gaeity and solemnity during this season, our emotional centers are often wrought with negative reactions to life’s (and the season’s) challenges, and we can become even more sensitive at this time of year. We may not be part of a circle of loved ones. As a result, we might suffer resentment since our culture programs us to focus on drama and conflict—in films, TV and in our own lives, which requires dramatic tension, adversity, crisis, and lots of pathos.
So the effects of stress are equally traumatic for the body whether we expose our poor nerves to our own real life dramas or to fictional ones; to bad memories of our life time or to the echos of our ancestors’ plights. Over the years the ‘plaque’ of so many griefs, grievances, and resentments collects in the heart and solar plexus area of the body, the center of our emotional life. This build-up creates an armoring across the middle. The free circulation of blood and lymph that we experienced as a child is now cut off at a chest-high bottleneck and no longer flows freely up and down from head to toe. In Part III, I will share how to address to create champagne from this bottleneck.