By Mercedes Kay Gold, RHHP
Embrace each day with a huge holistic hug. Choose health and wellness at every opportunity. Reducing mental, emotional and physical stressors will help decrease inflammation throughout the body. Love yourself inside and out with body boosting basics. Nutrition, exercise and supplements are essential to cellular level health. Unfortunately, environmental, genetic and negative life choices can directly impact our quality of life. Avoiding your healthcare practitioner is not always an option. Being open to the latest and the greatest trends can offer alternatives, but this time let’s take a peek into the past. Recently presented with the opportunity to try cuppig, I jumped for joy! My limited knowledge centered around a vague recollection of Michael Phelps, American gold medal Olympic swimmer. After gliding through the water with bizarre UFO crop circles adorning his muscular back, buzz surrounded the benefits of cupping. Dating back to 1550 BCE, medical records in Egypt describe the use of dry or wet cupping to address conditions such as vertigo, pain and a slew of various ailments. I couldn’t wait to begin my 90 minutes of bliss.
After a brief health history, the practitioner began with a massage, followed by reflexology. Completely relaxed, it was time for cupping to commence.
Cupping in theory, is essentially a massage in reverse. Instead of applying pressure with hands, the technician uses glass, silicon or polycarbonate cups. We have come a long way from animal horns, bamboo and clay. Crystal, the practitioner, began the ancient art of dynamic cupping by moving glass cups along the five meridians of my back. As she applied gentle pressure, cups pulled the muscles upward. It sounds scary, but in reality it’s so far from the truth. There was no absolutely no pain involved. Lymphatic drainage increases as toxins from cells are relocated into the lymphatic system for disposal. The increased flow of energy I felt remains indescribable. All 11 body systems from digestive to muscular were applauding my decision. From plantar fasciitis, to an unlimited supply of lactic acid, prior sports injuries, emotional trauma from divorce to the subtle cellulite creeping onto my thighs, my central nervous system began to relax.
For anyone needing deeper tissue work, cups can be applied and left on. Duration and level of suction vary person to person. Cupping works by negative pressure, creating a pulling action therefore separating tissue. Suction draws blood to the surface. The powerful effect on fluids surrounding cells encourages important processes such as diffusion, osmosis, filtration and active transport. It’s important to note wet cupping involves small incisions drawing out blood. I’m not that brave. Choosing to intensify my therapy, Crystal applied heated cups utilizing medium pressure for just five minutes. Again the focus being my back. It felt like a pinch, but combined with a odd suction sort of feeling. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt at all nor did I experience nausea, headache or any discomfort reported by others, but rather a release followed by a stream of tears. After just a few minutes, Crystal hastily removed the cups as marks quickly developed, indicating a therapeutic release. From a rainbow of hues to a change in texture and temperature, our skin tells a story both past and present of what’s going on underneath the skin. Bruising doesn’t indicate a better result, but rather trauma. Incorrectly applied cups with too strong suction may be the culprit. Marks upon my back told a tale, but for me the discovery of an organ that needs some special holistic attention was interesting. Cupping is a complementary and alternative therapy. There is no clear-cut evidence or studies to review its efficacy. That being said, something changed for me during the treatment. Whether I let go of past heartache or a lifetime of toxic debris, something shifted in a profound and positive way. I do attribute the very real five pound loss of water weight to improved lymphatic drainage. I did leave the office with rows of circles ranging from baby pink to a marvelous merlot hue. My back painted a picture of a much needed protocol. Backless workout gear opened up interesting dialogues for almost 10 days. Cupping can benefit the entire body as location and duration can be tailored to you. Each experience is unique and it’s definitely worth investigating!
*Always consult your MD or ND before beginning any new treatment. Always choose someone recognized by a governing body for the procedure.
Mercedes Kay Gold is a Certified Holistic Practitioner and Certified Mobile Trainer living and working in Toronto. Her writing has been featured in various publications and has appeared on Daytime with Jacqueline Betterton. She spends her spare time blogging all things healthy and enjoying time her sons.