Friday, December 13, 2013

Cupping marks, Cupping benefits: Show off your healing!

  Cupping therapy has many health benefits, including:
  • Relaxes tense muscles
  • Improves circulation
  • Relieves pain naturally
  • Flushes stagnant tissues with blood and oxygen
  • Detoxifies, Cleanses
  • Immune-boosting
  • De-stressing
  • Restores, balances qi
  But cupping can temporarily leave marks, or discolorations on the skin where they are applied. What are the marks? What do they tell us about your body & your health?

  The marks are usually circular, and they show up during the cupping session where cups are applied to the skin. They can last for several days, up to 2 weeks. They are also called gua sa marks (Eastern medicine), or ecchymoses (Western medicine), and they result from blood being drawn through the tissues by the cup suction.

Shoulder cupping reveals ischemic area, removing toxins
   As the suction (from the cups) decompresses, pathways are opened. Blood, lymph and other fluids are flushed through areas of stagnation. Your tissues can be stagnant or ischemic (lacking blood-flow) 
due to:
  • Adhesions and restrictions
  • Repetitive activities, like work, hobbies, sports, bad posture
  • Medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders and poor circulation 
  • Being overworked, or weak

Cupping is an excellent way to restore tissues to healthier states; i.e., restoring "qi".

What do the marks mean?
The marks tell us about the stagnation in an area; the need for blood-flow and detoxification. As you can see in the picture above, the shoulder area is getting slightly pink under the cups. And there are circles where the cups have been. This client might have slouched posture, a previous shoulder or back injury, or repetitive stress from daily activities. (The marks in this picture are not unusually dark, or abnormal, which would indicate a medical condition present).
If you have certain medical conditions, like an autoimmune disorder or poor circultion or toxicity, then your marks may be darker. They also might fade more slowly.

    Unlike bruises, cupping marks fade gradually. Because they are not bruises, they do not change colors in phases. But like any therapy, it's important to tell your therapist if they are suctioned much too tightly! Causing dark marks is not the goal of cupping therapy.

    As you receive continued cupping to an area, your marks will likely be lighter in color. They should also fade sooner. If you wait too long between cupping sessions, and you subject your body to the same stresses, cup marks might not be lighter-colored.

What if no marks appear?
   Then, perhaps your tissues are super-healthy and you have received cupping on a regular basis.
   Or your therapist chose to use gentle suction, which is appropriate in many cases.
   Or the cups were not applied for long.

Cupping can have powerful effects when applied gently, for a short time!

   At Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping, Nina applies cups with no-more-than "comfortably strong" suction. A health questionaire, before your 1st treatment, helps your therapist guide your treatment so that it is healing for you but never uncomfortable.

   EMBRACE cupping marks, and RECEIVE an ancient therapy that will leave you feeling blissfully healthier!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lyons Flood Relief: Massage and Cupping for Weary Souls

Flood tales, Massage & Cupping, and continuing to help.
In September 2013, several Colorado communities suffered major devastation when flash floods ripped through small mountain towns and canyons. The towns of Lyons, Salina, Jamestown, and Estes Park are all still suffering. Many have lost their homes, while others were without electricity or running water for weeks or longer. Boulder and Fort Collins have areas devastated, too. Other out-of-town communities still struggle, such as Coal Creek Canyon.

"We're just glad to be alive" and "We still have each other" are common sentiments. Mountainfolk are hearty-hardy people who stick together. Every summer along the Front Range, wildfires seem to take another town. But no one was prepared for the floods. Some were ripped out of their homes in mudslides, while others had to wait to be rescued from their rooftops by the National Guard. Roads crumbled as their foundations were washed away, leaving residents stranded.

Now that the dust has settled...Wait, the dust hasn't settled. Heavy, stinky mud has settled. Life hasn't returned to normal for hundreds whose homes were flooded. In addition to the mess left in the wake, the seasonal weather reminds us that there is a limited amount of time to get one's home in habitable shape before the snow starts flying. So, the urgency to have a roof over one's head adds more stress.

The Psychological Stress of Recovery.
Most people choose to live in Colorado out of a respect and reverence for Mother Nature. We love the outdoors, the seasons, and the lifestyle that nature-worship affords. But right now, it's hard not to feel somehow betrayed by Mother Nature. How could such an idyllic life get swept away so quickly?
And to know that our own eco-ego ways (global warming, i.e.) are contributing to such epic spankings...well, that's a guilt, plus lifestyle overhaul, that lurks like the new elephant in the room.

The emotional and psychological stress zaps many from being able to perform the rebuilding tasks at hand. Feeling overwhelmed is common. It stops folks in their tracks, unable to tackle the pressing matters.

Dealing with insurance agencies adds to the stress. When someone says "At least they had insurance", I know that their troubles are not spared. Despite having flood coverage, many are losing the battles in seemingly cut-and-dry cases.

The Physical Stress of Recovery.
The water was an immediate challenge, when the floods arrived. But the clean-up bears physical burdens that just won't wash away.

In the recovery, flood survivors rebuild homes and shovel mud. The mud is deep and seemingly bottomless. It's heavy, and shoveling builds strong backs. So, if there was time for emotional recovery, it was obscured by the urgent physical loads to rebuild lives.

Many flood evacuees returned home to mold. Cleaning mold that is deep in walls is a difficult task that most Coloradans can't imagine. Colorado? It's a dry state, but floods and the debris they carry brought enough water to create big-time mold. And mold spores take to the air, so many survivors struggle with respiratory problems.

Sleep has also been affected. Many flood survivors describe sleep patterns that reflect the timing of the flood events. The psychological and physical consequences of the flood have made "normal" sleep a rare occurrence for flood evacuees. Then, their lack of good-quality-rest affects everything else they do.

Massage and Cupping Therapies, with Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping.
I have been inspired as I hear the stories of flood evacuees. I have been offering free massage therapy and cupping treatments to flood evacuees and volunteers for almost 3 months now (in my Boulder office). The tales have been tragic, stories that no one wants to tell. But the strength of communities, volunteers, and rebirthds have been uplifting! It fills me up to hear how they have been "shaking off the dust" and drying the tears.

Many flood evacuees have been working around-the-clock to restore their homes before snow-storms and winter. But when they have time to settle, they are still welcome to come to me for free treatments! My care continues, and I understand the time-crunch under which they have been.

Massage therapy's benefits include:
* Stress Relief
* Alleviate Pain & Tension
* Improve Sleep
Cupping therapy's benefits include:
* Detoxification
* Better Breathing
* More oxygen to tissues

How YOU can help.
As we give thanks during the holidays, we can express our gratitude by donating time, sweat, money and fun. You can donate to organizations (local and nation-wide) like the Lyons Musicians Relief Fund, the Lyons Community Fund, and the American Red Cross.
You can attend fund-raising events like "Wake of the Flood" concerts, too. Buy your holiday gifts at silent auctions that benefit flood survivors. And you can sweat it out and help with digging, mud-slinging, and rebuilding efforts.

This fall and winter, please keep in mind that many of your neighbors- Coloradans, fellow Americans- are still in great need due to the floods. The damage was deep and intense, and the recovery is ongoing.

Thank You!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ease Knots and Tension in Soft Tissue with Cupping & MFR

What are those tension knots I get in my back and shoulders? How do I get rid of them?

Knots you feel due to tension are adhesions in your soft tissue. They are most likely in your fascia, or connective tissue, and in your muscles. These knots occur when your fascia becomes "glued down" from repetitive use or lack-of-use. Your fascia is like a giant spider web, connecting every spot in your body with every other spot.

Like glue that dries, or hardens, your fascia and soft tissue get glued tight. The tissue, itself, gets adhesions and restrictions that restrict movement and blood flow.

When you get those knots, your tissues aren't getting enough movement and circulation. Essentially, the smooth flow of chi has become blocked.

To relieve adhesions and restrictions ("snags" and "knots"), we can use cupping to perform a technique called Myofascial Release, or MFR. Watch this video about cupping and myofascial release to learn more:

For more about the piezoelectric effect, see the last post and its diagrams. In essence, your tissues harden with crystallization. Sustained pressue, held for several minutes at a time, induces the piezoelectric effect. Tissues are returned to normal, instead of staying hard and "crunchy".
Stationary cupping can be used as a form of MFR to return your body to a healthy state!

If you are getting pain or tension associated with connective tissue,
Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cupping Relieves Muscle Pain & Tension

If you get ...
* Soreness,
* Nagging aches,
* Joint stiffness,
* Tight muscles,
* Pain that's dull or sharp, 

...then, you need to GET CUPPED! 
Cupping therapy is an excellent natural remedy to relieve muscle pain and tension!
glass cups relax muscles and ease tension
Glass cups feel wonderful, relaxing muscles and easing tensions

How does cupping work?
Cupping involves the application of cups with suction to the body. A vacuum is created by the therapist, manually or thermally or using a hand-held pump. 
Cups can be placed anywhere on the body, to treat a variety of ailments. They are often applied to the back, shoulders, hips, and legs.
When cups are applied, a small amount of skin and tissue are drawn up into the cup, decompressing the areas below the cup. Areas such as blood and lymph vessels are opened up. 
Space is created. Pathways flow. Stagnant chi (circulation) moves again.

How does cupping relieve muscle pain and tension, specifically?
Cups can be applied in a dynamic way, or stationary. 

With dynamic (or massage) cupping, the gliding of the cups over the body feels relaxing. The cups are moved, with applied suction. This is similar to massage. Just like Swedish massage, pressure can be strong or light, or in-between.
Except cupping gives a bigger boost to circulation than massage, so your tissues are getting more blood flow, more oxygen, and more lymph. 
For those who suffer from poor circulation, compromised immune system, or stagnant chi, massage cupping can feel like so heavenly, like no other treatment!
Your body doesn't distinguish between the compression of massage or the decompression of cups: it just knows it feels good!

When they are stationary, they sit on the skin for a few minutes. When they are dynamic, they are moved around in a gliding, massage way.
When cups sit stationary, they induce a myofascial release effect on underlying tissues. By sustaining the decompression, connective tissue in the body releases adhesions and restrictions. In other words, stationary cups get rid of knots and snags in your tissues!
In manual therapy and physics research, this has been described as the piezoelectric effect.
piezoelectric effect quartz body muscles tissues
Tension causes muscles and connective tissues to crystallize

tension in body tissues piezoelectric effect
Tension in body tissues can be relieved naturally with the piezoelectric effect

Your therapist might use stationary cupping, or massage cupping, or a combination of both. It depends on what your body needs at the time of your treatment.

Receive an ancient treatment, (new to the U.S.), and enjoy the relief of muscle pain and tension that cupping can provide!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Massage and Cupping Prices for Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping

How are services priced at Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping?

Each person is unique. And bodies change: you might feel on-top-of-the-world one day, but feel down-in-the-dumps the next. Therefore, each treatment is unique. I set my price for your treatment at the time of the treatment.

Here are some general guidelines, based on what we determine you need at the time of treatment.

Balanced Blends:
A 60-minute treatment that includes both Massage and Cupping     $84
A 90-minute treatment with Massage and/or Cupping                        $109

60 minutes of Massage only or Cupping only                                       $79
Focus Cupping, 20 - 30 minutes                                                            $49
examples: Facial Cupping, Lunch-time Quick Fix
Focus Cupping, 30 - 40 minutes                                                            $59
e.g.: Immune Boost,  Upper Body Relief
Focus Cupping 40 - 50 minutes                                                             $69
e.g.: Detox Cupping, Sports Cupping

facial cupping in boulder for sinuses, wrinkles, lines, breathing, relaxing
Facial Cupping reduces wrinkles and lines, clears sinuses and opens airways, and it's very relaxing!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Doggie Dashers get Sports Massage

    That race was for the dogs! And all the other pets of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley...and for the humans who care for them, too!
    The dogs weren't the only ones having a BLAST at the Doggie Dash on Saturday, September 7th! The post-race party included yummy food and ales, groovin' jammin' tunes by the band Rocktin' Grove, treats and goodies from all the animal-loving vendors, cool tubs for hot dogs (on that hot summer dog day), and...
Sports Massage for the human racers!

Sports Massage at the Doggie Dash for Humane Society of Boulder Valley
Racer Neil gets Thai-Sports Massage after the race:
Notice the 1 cat, in the stroller, amidst the dogs & humans!
  Such a fun time, and for a great cause! Those of us who love, rescue, and support shelter pets came out for a good time. There was 1 brave cat present, a Persian, who kept her distance from the wet, sweaty, slobbering dogs by staying on her throne (see stroller, above).

Sports Massage by Nina at the Doggie Dash in Boulder
Nothing but Ohhs and Ahhs from Audra as she gets Massage (for humans) after the Doggie Dash

   And with so many dogs in one place, the racers were surprisingly well-behaved...and the dogs behaved, too! Seriously, the dogs were so focused on the race, and their run with their humans, that there was hardly a snarl or nip between dogs all day!
Nina gives post-race Sports Massage at the Doggie Dash September 2013
Giving post-race Sports Massage at the Doggie Dash - made in the shade!
DOGGIE DASHERS: Dash into my Boulder office and Get "Comp" Cupped!
Your special post-race offer, good thru September 30th, 2013:
* Receive 30 minutes of Cupping FREE when you schedule a 60-minute Massage
* Sample Cupping for FREE w/ a lunch-time quick fix, at my Boulder office, Tuesdays or Wednesdays between 11:30 am to 1:30 pm

Your complimentary cupping does not have to be for sports performance. You don't have to get cupping for athletes, although cupping is an excellent therapy for muscle recovery from sports.

...Appointments must be made in advance, by calling Nina at 970-948-0179
...Spots will fill, so call immediately so you don't miss out!
in the Doggie Dash for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley!
It takes a huge village to love all these animals and keep the shelter afloat, to show these animals all the love they show us! THANK YOU!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Massage v. Cupping: Different therapies for different needs

What's the difference between massage and cupping (therapies)? How do you know which treatment is best for your health concerns?

Nina Dropcho offers both massage therapy and cupping therapy in her Boulder, Colorado office. In this video, Nina summarizes the key difference between the two:

Does your body need the compression of massage, or the decompression of cupping? Or...both? At Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping, you can receive a "Balanced Blend" treatment with both.

When you schedule your appointment with Nina, you'll tell her your current health concerns and the reason you need treatment. Where is the focus of the session, i.e.? Together, you will decide which therapies are best to apply; which ones will "do the trick" to make you feel fantastic.

Call Nina today to schedule your Massage, Cupping, or Balanced Blend treatment:
970 948 0179

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

EveryBody Deserves a Massage at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley!

What an amazing week! Massage therapists around the country have been participating in  "EveryBody Deserves a Massage" Week. I spent Monday and Tuesday (July 15th, 16th) at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, giving neck & shoulder massage to volunteers who care for shelter animals.
The experience filled me with so much love and gratitude! It was definitely one of my career highlights and one of the reasons I chose to become a massage therapist. I love sharing the gift of touch with folks like these. Humans who love shelter pets are wonderful!

EveryBody Deserves a Neck Massage at Boulder's Humane Society
EveryBody Deserves a Shoulder Massage at Boulder's Humane Society
I had a line of takers from the moment I set up shop, in the shelter's upstairs library. Every person who got a massage had a story to share with me about animals they love. And many of their aches and pains were directly associated with animal care. Here are a few ways that can happen:
* Walking dogs can be strenuous. And when you are a volunteer, you are working extra-hard to let those dogs have fun. And dogs that need extra exercise are put in the "Tales on Trails" program, taken for long walks on local trails. All the while, volunteer dog-walkers are often holding tight to those leashes with a right arm (i.e., dominant side). Phew! All that leash-tugging can make arms and rotator cuffs tired, and it can even create micro-tears in myofascial tissue. Massage can alleviate soreness and restore tissues.
Mother-Daughter massages for volunteer dog walkers
This caring young lady, Catalina, got her 1st massage.
She and mother, Claudia, walk dogs for the shelter.
* Shelter pets can come from troubled backgrounds. Many have been abandoned and abused. At the shelter, they aim to heal them from their past and prepare them for new families. The shelter trainers and behavior coaches have to be firm with them and in control. This often requires a very tight grip on leashes and the ability to hold the animal firmly if they suddenly want to bolt. This can make a trainer's back, shoulders, and rotator cuff get tired and sore.
* Older pets can require "nursing care" just like older humans. For example, older dogs acquire hip pain that interferes with movement. Caregivers of older pets lift and move them, which can make arms and backs get sore.
* Some shelter pets have injuries upon arrival. They may need care that puts the caregiver in awkward positions, especially when treating smaller animals. This can put little "tweaks" in a caregiver's body that massage can relieve.
* Animals can be scared and stressed in the shelter environment. One volunteer had a fresh scratch when the little dog in her care got scared. Luckily, this massage therapist carries Neosporin cream, which was promptly applied to her skin. (No coincidence that one of the reasons I carry Neosporin is for my own scratches. Pets' nails can't always be perfectly trimmed: scratches happen.)

Lindsay Scott Nina Dropcho thank HSBV volunteers with massage
Lindsay Scott and Nina Dropcho appreciate shelter volunteers!

MANY THANKS  to LINDSAY SCOTT, Humane Society of Boulder Valley's Volunteer Coordinator, for hosting this special event!

My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude for the amazing humans who give shelter pets the LOVE they deserve!
EveryBody the Humane Society of Boulder Valley...Deserves a Massage!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping office is blooming

Happy Summer!

We made it! My favorite season in Colorado: summer. Wildflowers are blooming at all altitudes, creating a colorful palette for all to enjoy. 

western wildflower, colorado mountain flowers, flowers bloom colorado
Western wallflowers aren't shy!
And why just let the flowers have all the fun? My business is blooming, too!

Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping has moved into a new office, conveniently located near 30th and Valmont in the Centennial Creek offices. 
All of this "new" is good news for you!

You, my client, enjoy a waiting area that immediately soothes. During your treatment, your therapist is completely focused on you. And while I focus on giving each client the very best treatment possible for their needs, my office slowly transforms and blooms.

Path of columbines soothes hikers

Colorado state flower
Upon each return visit this summer, you will notice slight "blooms" around the office. Essential equipment is in place, but those extra touches are what make each treatment memorable.

A variety of all-natural oils is available to complement your massage and cupping with aromatherapy. (Or use no aroma essence and tune your senses inward). 

The music library contains relaxing tones, ranging from spiritual Native American flute to dreamy Celtic harp to the synchrony of a July frog pond.

To help you bloom and thrive, I will be adding plants (including some which will be used in treatments for their medicinal properties), and a few more decoratives. 

To help clients feel their best, while achieving their health and fitness goals, I will offer special incentives. Everyone should be able to afford regular massage & cupping, to fit it into your wellness plan.

Despite all the new around you, you can feel confident that my highly-skilled hands, with 12 years experience as a massage therapist, will soothe your tension.

Like a new summer wildflower, I hope that you'll grow and thrive this summer with services from Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping!

Wishing you an amazing summer,
Nina Dropcho

Let your true colors shine: Grow with BBMC in my new Boulder office!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping celebrates a new Boulder office!

Yay! Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping is settling into its new Boulder "home", near 30th & Valmont in the Centennial Creek offices. The address is 2975 Valmont Rd., Suite 200, Boulder CO. Our building is closest to 30th (on the right, or east).
Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping, 2975 Valmont Rd, Suite 200, Boulder CO
Centennial Creek offices (in the trees) when driving on Valmont
Pull in the driveway. There is plenty of shaded parking around the back (north side of the building), beside an open grassy area.

Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping, 2975 Valmont Rd, Suite 200, Boulder CO, Nina Dropcho
Driveway on north side of Valmont
 Enter on the north side. Enter, Come up the stairs to the 2nd floor. BBMC is in Inspiral Healing Arts, Suite 200, on the left as you come up the stairs.
Make yourself comfortable in the reception area. Have a cup of tea and relax. The restrooms are in the main hallway, as you entered the 2nd floor of the building.

Welcome! Once you have "landed" ... Feel peace, and prepare to receive your Massage & Cupping Therapy session. Your (cupping and massage) therapist, Nina Dropcho, will come out to greet you shortly and escort you to the massage office.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How Cupping Works: Why it has SO many health benefits

by Nina Dropcho
Cupping therapy, or just “cupping”, is an ancient medicinal technique used to treat many different health conditions, and to promote health, in general. Cupping decompresses tissues and opens channels.

In Far Eastern cultures, medical practitioners use cupping to move stagnant qi. Qi is a holistic term for the body’s energies.  All energies of the body are interrelated and inseparable. If one of the body’s systems is compromised, then others will also be compromised. For example, reduced blood flow can produce tightness in muscles, or inhibit mental skills like alertness and memory.
Cupping, therefore, promotes balanced qi, affecting all of the body’s systems and functions.

Western qi.
To “break it down” in Western medicine terms…
Some of the main benefits of cupping include:
·        Improves circulation, delivering fresh oxygen and blood to the tissues.
·        Opens lymph vessels, boosting the flow of lymph and enhancing immune function
·        Raises metabolism, optimizes digestion, detoxifies
·        Promotes respiratory healing, invigorating the lungs
·        Stimulates nerve transmission by taking pressure off nerves
·        Replenishes connective tissue, easing restrictions and adhesions

Ultimately, cupping makes you feel ENERGIZED, but also relaxed, as your body finds balance and optimal conditioning!

Cupping application.
To decompress an area, cups are applied to the skin with suction. The suction draws a small amount of tissues up into the cup. The therapist will either leave the cups sitting on an area for a few minutes, or they will move them around. Each treatment is different, based on the client’s needs.

Leaving cups to sit on an area is called static, or Stationary Cupping, or Vacuum Therapy. Moving the cups around is called Dynamic Cupping. It is also called Gliding, Running, or Massage Cupping. The stationary style is often intense, applied for a specific effect, while the moving style is more diffuse and produces more generalized effects.
cupping for sore legs, runner calf soreness relief, IT Band soreness relief
Stationary Cupping: cups on a runner's sore leg, relief for calf, heel, IT Band

At Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping, I call the gliding style “Massage Cupping”. It can be added to a massage or done as its own treatment. As its name implies, gliding the cups around can be very relaxing, or even sedating. The cups are moved in flowing, massage-like strokes.

Massage Cupping can have milder effects, so it might be used when a client is too sensitive for stationary cupping. If you have recently had an illness or a traumatic event, or you have finished an intense course of detoxification, then massage cupping might be more appropriate than stationary cupping.

Focus Cupping, V’Acupuncture.
Cups can also be placed or moved to focus on specific pathways, much like the way that
> Acupuncture stimulates meridians,
> Thai medicine empowers sen lines, or
> Reflexology arouses points along energy channels.

At Balanced Boulder Massage & Cupping, this style of cupping is called Focus Cupping, or “V’Acupuncture”. Some of these treatments include:
*Detox Cupping, *Cupping for Athletes: Cyclists, Runners, *Weight Loss & Toning Cupping, *Facial cup-lift and *Cupping for Musicians (see picture, below).
cupping relieves sore back shoulders, cupping therapy back shoulder relief
Cupping therapy to relieve a musician's upper back, shoulder soreness

A Focus/V’Acupuncture treatment is not like a massage. It may take as little as 20 minutes, or up to 60 minutes. Due to the focused intensity, it is not recommended that you receive multiple V’Acupuncture treatments in one session.

For a longer session, schedule yourself a “Balanced Blend” treatment with a combination of 1) V’Acupuncture and Massage Cupping OR 2) V’Acupuncture and regular Massage.

Call 970-948-0179
  to schedule your cupping treatment!

Monday, May 27, 2013

How Cupping Therapy Relieves the Pain of Work-Related, Repetitive Patterns

by Nina Dropcho

Although it has been practiced by Middle and Far East cultures for centuries, cupping therapy is relatively new to the U.S. Cupping therapy, or just “cupping”, is a natural, non-invasive therapy that treats a variety of ailments, including work-related aches and pains.

The deep physical roots of work-related tension.

Work that constrains one to a desk, or a prolonged position, is physically damaging. When the body is used in a repetitive way, connective tissue becomes restricted. Adhesions of connective tissue (those pesky “knots”) glue down to the bones and other structures. This creates inflammation and pain.

The adhesions, over time, harden like dried glue. The not-so-soft tissue loses its elasticity and a state of chronic inflammation sets in. These restriction and adhesion cycles create microtrauma in the body’s tissues that gradually accumulates.

These patterns of stuck tissues are a large component of repetitive stress injuries.

But that is only part of the physical damage!

We heed pain because it is hard to ignore. But there are other physical consequences of repetitive stress due to work. If your work posture keeps you in a forward-flexed state, then the tissue throughout your torso and hips is also getting restricted.

Your soft tissue is like a tapestry of tissues, organs, and systems. A snag in the tapestry affects many structures.

If you sit in the same position for long periods of time, the connective tissue that covers and connects organs gets shortened and restricted. This puts strain on the organs, themselves, and on the nerves and blood vessels that feed them. This can impede organ function, such as:
·        Breathing
·        Digestion
·        Urination, Elimination
·        Circulation, and
·        Menstruation and Fertility

The psychological ties to physically-stressful work.

With all of the physical manifestations of work-related stress, it can be easy to overlook the psychological consequences. Physical constraints on blood flow, lymph flow, and nerves have almost-immediate effects on one’s mental abilities and emotions.

Mood, energy, and ability to concentrate may all be diminished. These problems become amplified if sleep is a concurrent problem.

Of course, the lack of physical activity or variety of activity, can impact one’s sleep. So, in addition to all the tension building up, you might also be coping with a cascade of problems related to fatigue and sleep deprivation!

Long-term solutions.

Surgery and medications are not viable long-term solutions. They address the symptoms but neglect the cause. Without treating the cause, the problems remain and often, worsen.

They also cause side effects and secondary problems like scar tissue (remember the snags in the tapestry analogy? Scar tissue is the “least-fixable” snag in that connective tissue web).

Instead, work station and activity modifications are critical for long-term resolution. You can take more activity breaks at work. You can keep exercise gear at your work station. And you can adapt your work station for better ergonomics. Lately, more companies are fitting their offices with treadmill work stations. Ultimately, many workers change careers entirely to improve their health, when making these modifications is not an option.

Short-term and transition solutions.

Once healthier modifications are in place, it’s time to address the immediate problems of pain and inflammation. Increased exercise will reduce symptoms and start reversing the damage.

Massage therapy relieves both physical and psychological stress. Massage relieves muscular tension and pain. It also improves sleep and attention span, and alleviates depression.

Some styles of massage, such as myofascial release, can break up the adhesions and snagged connective tissue. Prolonged treatments are recommended to hold the results.

Massage can provide both immediate relief, and a transition back to an overall healthier state.

Cupping therapy is an effective treatment for the physical and psychological effects or repetitive, work-related health problems.

Immediate relief from cupping therapy.

Cupping is a natural therapy that has recently seen a surge in popularity in the U.S. Cupping involves the application of suction to the skin, using cups, to decompress tissues. Tissues expand to fill the cup, taking pressure off underlying structures.

As cups are applied, the flow of blood and lymph, and nerve pathways, are greatly enhanced. The boost to circulation provides fresh blood and oxygen to tissues. Inflammation, ischemia, and stagnation are cleared. Tissues regain internal nourishment.

glass cup, cupping therapy, middle upper back to relieve pain, nina boulder
Applying a fire cup to the middle and upper back to relieve pain
As cupping powerfully replenishes tissues, it can often be sedating! Clients often describe waves of relaxation as they “get cupped”.

Long-term benefits of cupping therapy.

In Eastern cultures, the all-encompassing term for the body’s energies is “qi”. Qi refers to life force, blood flow, lymph movement, and nerve transmission. Qi is a great term to express limitations in any of these systems because they are all interrelated. Again, qi is like the tapestry analogy: restrictions in one area necessitate restrictions in all areas!

Eastern medicine, therefore, describes the greatest benefit of cupping as moving stagnant qi. To Eastern practitioners, healthy flow of qi is vital to health and cannot be separated by body systems.

An additional benefit to cupping is its ability to restore connective tissue. Cupping can soften the restrictions, the “snags”. It can return elasticity to connective tissue and dissipate adhesions, or “knots”. Cupping is a unique style of myofascial release.

By decompressing the tissue, cupping opens pathways and vessels. Compression, on the other hand, can have a detrimental effect on tissues that are already over-compressed. Compression is also limited to the therapists’ abilities, whereas decompression can be controlled by cups and suction applied.

Your cupping session and self-care.

There are many styles of cupping, but an effective treatment (for the health problems described above) would include both stationary and dynamic cupping. Stationary cupping is when cups are suctioned to an area and left to sit there for a few minutes (see picture below). Prolonged application will work on connective tissue restoration.

glass fire cups, cupping therapy to restore tissues of back torso, nina boulder
Fire cups sitting stationary on middle and upper back to restore tissues

Dynamic cupping involves cup movement. It can be relaxing, even sedating, when applied with long strokes (like effleurage of Swedish massage). Dynamic cupping boosts circulation and balances qi.

Cupping can have deep and long-lasting effects. To feel your best after a cupping session, drink extra pure water and eat only nutritious foods for the week afterward. You may need extra rest, extra warmth and skin coverage, and a decrease in rigorous exercise, as your body balances itself.

Cupping, natural therapies, and changes in work activity can
restore you to better health and balance!