- Published: Thursday, 03 May 2018 09:38
- Written by Louise Stevens
“Acupuncture and cupping, more than half of the ills cured,” is a famous Chinese saying, supporting traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine brings to mind acupuncture and the use of natural herbs as healing remedies. Cupping is a lesser-known treatment that is also part of Oriental medicine, one that can provide an especially pleasant experience. One of the earliest documentations of cupping can be found in the work titled A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, which was written by a Taoist herbalist by the name of Ge Hong and which dates all the way back to 300 AD. An even earlier Chinese documentation, three thousand years old, recommended cupping for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. In both Eastern and Western cultures, cupping evolved from shamanistic practices that held the belief that illnesses and infirmities can be sucked out of the body
Cupping was established as an official therapeutic practice in the 1950s across hospitals in China after research conducted by Chinese and former Soviet Union acupuncturists confirmed cupping’s effectiveness. Prior to the 1950s, cupping had also been practiced as an auxiliary method in traditional Chinese surgery. In recent years cupping has been growing in popularity, with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, David Arquette, and athlete Michael Phelps drawing public attention to the traditional Chinese therapy technique.
Though news outlets were quick to criticize celebrities chasing the newest medical therapies and techniques, recent studies have shown cupping’s effectiveness in reducing pain intensity and providing positive short-term benefits.
What Is Chinese Cupping?
Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the ski to disperse and break up stagnation and congestion by drawing congested blood, energy or other humors to the surface. In dry cupping, the therapist will simply place the suction cups on the skin. In wet cupping, the practitioner will make a small incision on the skin and then apply the suction cup to draw out small amounts of blood.
There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups. One method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin. Suction can also be created by placing an inverted cup over a small flame, or by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material (like leather) to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping, but rather are a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the small cups.
Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin (often referred to as "gliding cupping). Medical massage oils are sometimes applied to improve movement of the glass cups along the skin. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage - rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes. This is similar to the practice of Tui Na, a traditional Chinese medicine massage technique that targets acupuncture points as well as painful body parts, and is well known to provide relief through pressure.
The side effects of cupping are fairly mild. Bruising should be expected, but skin should return to looking normal within 10 days. Other potential side effects include mild discomfort, skin infection, or burns. However, a trained health professional will apply an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent an infection.
The Philosophy Behind Pain and Cupping
“Where there’s stagnation, there will be pain. Remove the stagnation, and you remove the pain.”
The old Chinese medical maxim holds that pain results from the congestion, stagnation, and blockage of Qi, or vital energy, vital fluids, lymph, phlegm, and blood. If pain is the essence of disease, then suffering is a result of obstructed or irregular flow in the body. Chinese cupping is therefore a method of breaking up the blockage to restore the body’s natural flow of energy.
Cupping Combined With Acupuncture
Generally, cupping is combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but it can also be used alone. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. For weight loss and cellulite treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area.
Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed. Using these points, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian channels, cupping strives to 'open' these channels - the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force). Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials. Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be 'cupped,' thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points.
Other Benefits Of Chinese Cupping
This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person's asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common maladies that cupping is used to relieve.
Cupping’s detoxifying effect on skin and circulatory system is also significant, with a visible improvement in skin color after three to five treatments. Cupping removes toxins and improves blood flow through the veins and arteries. Especially useful for athletes is cupping’s potential to relieve muscle spasms.
Cupping also affects the digestive system. A few benefits include an improved metabolism, relief from constipation, a healthy appetite, and stronger digestion.
A 2015 report published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine noted cupping as an effective alternative method of treating acne, pain, facial paralysis, cervical spondylosis, and herpes zoster.
- Dharmananda, Subhuti
- History of Chinese Cupping
- Joswick, Diane, Cupping: How Gwyneth Paltrow Got Her Spots, Acufinder.com.
- Published: Thursday, 03 May 2018 09:23
- Written by Louise Stevens
The Problem of Chronic Pain
David Cohen in the Evening Standard (Friday 16thMarch, 2018) wrote:
“Not many of us would accept buying a car or a TV and finding out that nine out of 10 times it doesn’t work. Yet this is what we put up with when acquiring drugs for our chronic pain”.
The newspaper’s investigation reports that opioid painkillers fail nine in every ten long-term pain sufferers but continue to be prescribed in record numbers. According to the report, 50-80% of patients will experience at least one side effect.
Two years ago, the UK’s leading pain experts published a series of guidelines proposing that there should be two golden rules in the treatment of chronic pain: Firstly, those patients who do not achieve a reasonable degree of pain relief within two to four weeks are unlikely to benefit in the long term and their opioids should be discontinued. Secondly, short-term results do not guarantee longer-term pain relief, and therefore continual patient assessment is important.
But what to do if opioids fail?
Dr Cathy Stannard, co-editor of Opioids Aware, an excellent website dedicated to providing up-to-date information for doctors and patients. acknowledged in The Evening Standard that chronic pain is difficult to treat. But she stated, “Alternative Therapies such as acupuncture and exercise therapies may have more benefits than hardcore medical treatments….I’d spend the money saved from taking people off drugs on testing these sorts of treatments”.
Experts like Dr Stannard understand that pain is complicated to treat and is affected by how we are feeling at the time so that our thoughts, feelings and worries and well as previous experiences of pain can all change the way we experience and respond to it. These ideas have been central to an acupuncturist’s understanding of how to treat chronic pain.
Dr Amanda Williams, an expert on persistent pain who is currently writing European guidelines on best practice, built on these suggestions and proposed a five-step programme which is extremely helpful:
- Accept the probability that there is no silver bullet that will work for your chronic pain.
- Understand that chronic pain is not indicative of any life-threatening condition and that it is due to pain that seems to have got stuck in the acute stage and which, for reasons we don’t understand, carries on.
- Become more active by doing the things you enjoy, be it walking the dog, swimming or yoga
- Challenge your mental barriers by avoiding the tendency to catastrophise and instead give yourself realistic messages about what you can pro-actively do to manage your pain.
- Pace yourself, be kinder to yourself, by all means try different alternative remedies such as acupuncture and meditation and seek for things to gradually improve overtime.
(from The Evening Standard Investigation into Opioid painkillers: 16/3/18)
How can we help?
There is a long history in China of acupuncture treating chronic pain. A large number of encouraging studies have provided good evidence that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including low back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica and headaches.
Acupuncturists are widely experienced in treating painful conditions that include the conditions above. At your initial consultation you will be asked for a detailed history of when and how your pain started, how you experience pain, what makes it worse and better, and how it affects your life. After making an assessment, treatment usually includes massage, acupuncture and sometimes heat treatment. Appropriate exercises may also be given for you to do each day.
Chronic pain usually arises over a long period of time and therefore it can take 4 - 6 sessions of acupuncture to start seeing a positive change. We also recognize that chronic pain can make you tired and miserable, affect your sleep and cause other feelings of ill health. The acupuncture you receive is also targeted to improve your general health and well being.
If you would like to discuss your situation and want more information please phone or email the clinic.
We always advise that you consult your doctor prior to starting acupuncture, and if you are taking opioid drugs you must see your doctor before coming off them - stopping suddenly could cause dangerous withdrawal effects.
- Published: Monday, 26 March 2018 16:01
- Written by Louise Stevens
The Chinese Horoscope 2018 predicts that this year of the Yellow Earth Dog is going to be a good year in all respects, but it will also be an exhausting year.
The Dog is an ethical and idealistic sign, and the year that bears its name will also bring increased social awareness and interest in society’s less powerful members. Any tendencies to take, take, take will be replaced by a widespread sentiment of generosity and selflessness. In general, we will all be imbued with the Dog’s keen sense of right and wrong.
According to chinese astrology , 2018 is a very good year regarding the financial aspects, but a little difficult from a health point of view. Actually, in the year of the dog, all zodiac signs will want to pay special attention to their health. Year 2018 is the ideal time to start eating healthy, doing sports and getting rid of bad habits.
Rat 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Those born in the Rat year will not have a very successful financial year, at least not in the first part. They must be very careful and show responsibility and maturity when it’s about this kind of decisions. At the end of this period, your income will increase and this will happen only because of your dedication towards work.
During the new coming year, the Rat will have trouble feeling good in his own skin and his stress endurance will be put to the test in the first two months of the new year.
Ox 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
This year, those born under the Ox sign will know only success and this will be the result of their hard work. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled back by no one and nothing, follow your plan without deviations. Your proven perseverance will help you gain all the praises you deserve, but also substantial money rewards.
The Ox natives will have an excellent heath during the new year, thanks to their efforts from the previous years for establishing a healthy lifestyle.
Tiger 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Those in the year of the Tiger must be more careful when it comes to their spending habits and think twice before buying something. They are hardworking and ambitious and they will fight to gain as much as possible. The concern of not losing everything in a short time should always be in the back of their head, because otherwise they risk to work for nothing.
During this troubled period of time, the Tigers must adopt a healthy lifestyle and radically change their eating habits.
Rabbit 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
The people born in the year of the Rabbit will work hard in this period, because their biggest desire is to have everything they want and to be able to afford anything. They must refrain from wasting money, or they will risk losing everything, especially towards the end of the year.
During the new year, stress is a real hassle for the Rabbit natives and they should spend more time taking care of themselves and change their attitude.
Dragon 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Dragons fight for social position, rather than for money, but this is something that actually implies both aspects. Their self-confidence will trigger their success, especially since the Dragon will attract on her side unique opportunities. It would be good to know where to stop because the desire to have more can lead to losing everything they obtained until that point.
The Dragon’s health will be excellent this year. Despite the busy schedule, the extra hours at work and the business trips, the Dragon will not forget to take care of his health. Stress is the only thing that can still affect him.
Snake 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Those born in the Snake year manage to, finally, obtain the first results of their past year work. These results will be both material and moral. The Snake natives must learn to adapt to any situation and to be always ready for changes, because these situations are very possible.
The Snake will enjoy a good state of health in 2018. Taking note of the health issues encountered by the people close to him, he will be determined to realize that health can become precarious over the years.
Horse 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
The people born in the Horse year will be positively influenced by the stars in this period. This is a good year for investments, because the results won’t fail to show. They must be careful to keep their budget under control and to not spend exceedingly. The shopping list, with no deviations from it, is the best solution.
The Horse natives are at risk of facing health problems during 2018, due to the numerous responsibilities they are forced to take on. Is possible for the natives of this zodiac sign to fall prey to tension and stress. If they don’t take urgent measures, they will risk to develop depression.
Goat 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Goats will have many chances to fill their pockets, they only have to make sure they won’t miss these opportunities. This is a year when they will decide to save money, not to spend them. Their plans are on the first place and they are magnificent.
The Goat natives have the tendency of neglecting their own health, while taking care of the wellbeing of others. They must stay alert and quit their unhealthy habits. They need to take care of themselves and focus of their emotional, physical and psychological needs.
Monkey 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
The ones born in the year of the Monkey will have plenty of money, but they will need to learn how to manage them efficiently. Some sudden shopping is possible, but this doesn’t mean you will make a dent in your budget. If you continue to work with pleasure and efficiently, your income will regenerate.
The people under the Monkey sign are usually healthy people, ready to conquer the world. The Monkey feels the need to find inner peace in 2018. Activities like meditation, tai chi or yoga will help them relax and achieve physical strength.
Rooster 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Those born in the year of Rooster must learn to adapt to any situation and don’t be scared that their financial situation will have to suffer. Variety is a very important aspect and this year will bring plenty of opportunities.
Stress can damage the physical and mental health of Rooster natives, if they don’t pay enough attention to it. Anxiety is also a risk for their health and the difficulties they encounter might manifest as exhaustion.
Dog 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
The Dogs will have a very good year financially speaking. They will evolve professionally and as a result, they will have more money in their pockets. In just few words, they will be able to afford almost everything they want and they will show wisdom when it comes to impulsive spending.
During the new year, the Dog people will enjoy an iron health, as long as they watch their eating habits and they do not indulge in excess.
Pig 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Those born in the year of the Pig will make many compromises in order to be professionally successful. There will be many obstacles in their way, but if they don’t give up, they will succeed. Due to their perseverance, the bank accounts will be full of money, but their responsibilities will be as big as their rewards.
In order to avoid any health issues, the Pig needs to show caution. The Pig needs to focus on the positive aspects of life and forget any negative thoughts.
Dog Years are not conducive to waste and unnecessary expenses. In 2018, success, in love as in work, depends primarily on the quality of the communication between people, and learning that being selfless and generous can bring the promise of a more generous harvest in return.
One must remember that the Chinese zodiac sign of the Dog, symbol of intelligence and protection, can also turn the year 2018 into a sensitive period, during which activists and students, but also ordinary citizens, feeling deprived of hope and socially excluded, won't hesitate to demand radical changes to their life conditions, and to preserve the future of their children.