November 2019 Newsletter
by Erica Schrimmel, MS, LMT
We’ve seen cupping in the media over the years with mainstream athletes like Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps, and Patriots Linebacker James Harrison. But what is cupping? Why is it such an important part of their recovery programs? And is it for you? Read on to learn more.
Cupping first began in the ancient eastern world, where they used it as treatment for some types of headaches, dizziness, and abdominal pain. As time went on, glass cups were developed and used with fire to create a suction. Now we have cups that use a valve and hand operated pump which means we no longer have to use fire. Evolution continued with new materials, like silicone, and shapes, like ovals. The cups are used with a lubricant in order to create and air-tight seal with the skin. When we think about traditional massage, we are pressing down into the tissue to affect the muscles. With cups, the suction lifts the tissue to assist in creating separation of adhered areas. The stationary and moving techniques with the cups may be compared to the slow release we find with myofascial therapy.
Currently, there seems to be no definitive scientific data to explain exactly why cupping has therapeutic benefits. There are many theories out there. Cupping increases circulation to an area, bringing toxins that are in deeper tissues up to the surface so that the body can process and remove them. It is believed that the force of suction in the cup causes superficial capillaries to rupture, which allows blood to escape into the tissues. Others believe that the analgesic effects of cupping may be similar to acupuncture or acupressure, with the release of neurotransmitters, blocking pain messages to the brain.
When should cupping be a part of treatment? Cupping can be indicated for: musculoskeletal pain and discomfort, neck pain, back pain, sprains/strains, piriformis syndrome, lateral epicondylitis, plantar fasciitis, TMJD, adhesions, scar tissue, post-surgical trauma, decreased range of motion, general relaxation, trigger points, areas difficult to access manually, abdominal discomfort, and sinus issues. It can be a great alternative or addition to regular soft tissue care. Does it hurt? Cupping can feel strange at first, but it shouldn’t hurt any more than a deep tissue massage over tight muscles.
But those marks! The size and intensity of color of the marks will vary from person to person with varying degrees of suction, size of the cup, length of time left stationary, etc. As the suction of the cup pulls the skip up, blood is brought closer to the surface. In general, the longer the cup is left in one spot, the darker the spots will be. Often with continued, regular treatment, the marks may become less intense and fade more quickly. One theory about this is that the suction brings stagnant blood to the surface – think resulting from injuries or illness, old traumas etc. This “older” blood has a darker appearance. It has also been suggested that areas of chronic muscle tightness will restrict normal blood flow, and this will result in this stagnant blood. By drawing this blood out of the areas, proper circulation can be restored. The marks typically last anywhere from three days to one week. The more stagnant or toxic the blood, the darker the marks, the longer they will take to fade. These marks, are not normal bruises like when you hit your shin on the coffee table. They usually will not be tender to the touch after treatment. Most likely, you will forget that they are even there!
After a cupping treatment, it is important to make sure you drink lots of water… and then even more! Cupping brings the toxins to the surface, and drinking water will help get them flushed out of your system. Cupping also opens the pores of the skin, so it is a good idea to not take a hot or cold shower right after – it could counteract the work that was done. Also be careful of anything you might put on the skin like lotions or oils, and the skin might be more sensitive to them.
The office will be open on Monday November 11th with normal business hours. We will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday November 28th.
Erica (Schrimmel) Bazzell, LMT is now offering cupping therapy as an add-on to either 30 min. or 60 min. massages. Drs. Jeremiah Davis and Joshua Leuppie also continue to offer cupping therapy as an add-on to adjustments.
Massage gift certificates are great gift giving ideas for the upcoming holiday season! They can be purchased in any amount. See the front desk.
Is your HSA/FSA getting ready to renew in the new year? Don’t lose those funds! Consider purchasing a chiropractic maintenance package, getting the whole family adjusted, or setting up a few massages if you need to use up your funds. Don’t wait!
Recipe of the Month
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
Paleo, Vegan and Sugar Free
- 2 lbs Sweet Potatoes
- 3 tbs coconut oil or butter
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Extra salt and cinnamon for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
- Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven until soft (about 1-1.5 hours)
- Remove from oven, cut in half and let cool
- Remove skins and set sweet potatoes aside
- Reduce oven to 375 degrees F
- Add applesauce and sweet potatoes to your blender and blend until smooth
- Add melted coconut oil (or butter), cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg, and blend until combined.
- Transfer to a 9” baking dish and sprinkle the top with pecans and optional topping
- Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until potatoes begin to slightly bubble and topping is lightly browned.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.