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!