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Cupping

 Check out our Resources page to see research, articles and published work on cupping therapy.


Cupping, (also known as Negative Pressure Massage when cups are moved across the body and skin) is a traditional time-honored treatment remaining favored by millions of people worldwide because it's safe, comfortable and remarkably effective for many health disorders, It's the use of suction, rather than compression for bodywork ranging from myofascial release to lymphatic drainage- and everything in between! Cupping rapidly facilitates rigid soft tissue release, loosens and lifts connective tissues, breaks up and drains stagnation while increasing blood and lymph flow to skin and muscles in ways not possible with compression. 

When the cups move, Negative Pressure Massage really feels great. The pulling action engages the parasympathetic nervous system, thus allowing a deep relaxation to move through the entire body. It is not unusual to fall asleep when receiving this treatment. People are often surprised at how relaxed, warm and light they feel - hours...sometimes even days afterwards.

Used on the back, the larger cups will mimic the rolling action of myofascial release without discomfort to the client. The variety of movements can be long and draining, circular and vibrational for stimulation and for areas of stubborn knots and rigid tissue. The skin will redden with strong pressure, indicating that the circulation has been brought to the surface. Application of liniments, analgesics, tinctures, hydrosols and essential oils immediately post treatment will facilitate absorption of the product deeper into the tissue. The increased blood supply to the local muscles and skin will bring nourishment and stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems to carry away stagnation and toxins. Another benefit of negative pressure is that it really feels great, and is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out, yet does not add to it. The pulling action engages the parasympathetic nervous system, thus allowing a deep relaxation to move through the entire body. 


 

The Most common and unfortunate misconception concerning Cupping is the misinterpretation of the marks sometimes resulting from the treatment. These Discolorations are not Bruises.  What these marks under the skin are, post Cupping, is stagnation, dead cellular debris, pathogenic factors, excess fluid and most importantly - Toxins being drawn out of the bio-system.  This toxic garbage is drawn to the surface and sometimes leave deposits under the skin, which, short of cutting the skin and pulling it out, is the best place for the lymphatic system to drain it away. Some capillary seepage occurs, but it is minimal to the acidic agents being removed.

The Western term for discoloration is Petechia. Petechia is a slight subcutaneous discharge of blood from the vessels. The negative pressure from the suction tools cause extravasation of blood from the peripheral capillaries which result in subcutaneous blemishing (ecchymosis). Petechia does not represent capillary rupture as evidenced with Bruising. Petechia fades almost immediately to ecchymosis, and there is a rapid resolution of the marks as compared to bruising.   The discolorations fade from hours up to two weeks, depending on the amount of stagnation. The length of time it takes for it to fade indicates the severity and toxicity of the patient's condition, as well as the patients follow-up activities. As treatments accumulate marks will occur less and less. This is a direct result of stagnation, debris and toxins being expelled from the body. 


 

A vacuum is created inside of the cups using either heat or suction.  Tissue is lifted into the cup from negative pressure and can allow up to 4 inches of tissue to be lifted.  The vacuum formed by Cupping draws up the old non-circulating stagnant blood and sticky fluids from the area, bringing them up to the surface and away form the injury so that healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area, thus make space for oxygen, living cells and nutrients for faster recovery.

Blood.  Cupping provides the tissue with a surge of blood flow decreasing stagnation and allowing the tissue to normalize. When blood flow increases it helps to increase nutrients and dispose of toxins effectively decreasing ischemia.  

Body Fluids.   Cupping is quite effective in moving lymph, intestinal content and lung fluid build up.  It is an excellent way to aid respiratory illness. 

Fascia.   Fascia is connective tissue that has contact with every part of the body and helps to cleanse and wash the blood almost serving as s a screen for waste and toxins. It is now recognized that connective tissues carry out regenerative functions for certain organs. If fascia is unhealthy restrictions occur such as adhesions or loss of range of motion that certainly lead to pain and often disease. Normalizing the fascia with cupping hydrates the tissue, creates more elasticity and improves overall function in the muscle and connective tissue.

Indications for Cupping

Cupping is indicated when helping to drain lymph, loosen adhesions, release deep tissue, move stagnation, relieve inflammation, stimulate blood flow, warms tissue, and sedates the nervous system.  More indications for cupping:

  • COPD
  • Cold and Congestion
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Spasm
  • Inflammation
  • Ischemia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Headaches
  • Toxicity, substance, treatment drugs for detox
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine/headache
  • TMJD
  • Fatigue
  • Neuralgia
  • Rheumatism
  • Scarring
  • Restricted Fascia/Adhesions
  • Restricted ROM
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety
  • Poor Circulation
  • Soft Tissue Injury
  • Muscle confusion
  • Pre and Post Surgery
  • Symptoms of Parkinson
  • Digestive Issues
  • Muscle soreness after athletic event ......and much more.


 

Cupping Therapies offered:

Deep Tissue

A stronger suction (negative pressure) is great for deep tissue work and fascia release.  Using a deep (high suction) moving cup offers a deep tissue massage without the soreness afterward.  Additionally it gives all of the irritants and inflammatory products that have been released into the tissue a place to go -up into the superficial layers.  This makes it easier for your body to evacuate stagnate toxic garbage into the lymphatic system.


Facial Cupping:

 Women in Asia, Russia and Europe have been utilizing these remarkable negative pressure facial exercises for rejuvenation and maintenance for generations. Protocols for the face use the small cups to very lightly vacuum and lift the facial tissue, mimicking the pumping movements of lymphatic drainage. The benefits include increased local circulation of the skin, increased nutrients brought to the epidermis, and enhanced absorption of facial topicals. The drainage of stagnant fluids from reservoir areas will reduce edema and chronic puffiness. The muscles of the face benefit greatly from the reduction of tension and tightness, releasing expression lines and loosening rigid muscles associated with TMJ disorders. Sinus infections and inflammation are also directly relieved by the loosening and draining effects of the cups - many times resolving issues that many sufferers commonly turned to more radical procedures to correct. 

 

The benefits include increased local circulation of the skin, increased nutrients brought to the epidermis, and enhanced absorption of facial topicals. The drainage of stagnant fluids from reservoir areas will reduce edema and chronic puffiness. The muscles of the face benefit greatly from the reduction of tension and tightness, releasing expression lines and loosening rigid muscles associated with TMJ disorders. Sinus infections and inflammation are also directly relieved by the loosening and draining effects of the cups - many times resolving issues that many sufferers commonly turned to more radical procedures to correct.

Lymph Drainage

Cupping stretches open, rather than closing the lymphatic vessels. This action actually increases the movement of lymph locally and systemically with cumulative treatments. Increasing Lymphatic output increases the immune systems ability to detoxify the body and respond to stressors put onto it from disease, chemicals, stress and electromagnetic fields.

Abdominal Cupping

Cupping is an excellent therapy for the belly. It stretches the walls of the organs, thus sloughing off stagnant waste and mucus and overall promote the activity of digestion. People consistently report expelling an excess amount of waste immediately following treatments and an increase of elimination throughout the day. Cupping is regularly, and with great success, being used to help in conception, handle IBS, constipation, diarrhea, distention and acidity.

Detoxification Treatments

Nothing pulls from the body free radical, poisonous molecular debris better than suction. Blood tests have been done to measure the levels of toxins, pesticides and acids being drawn out of the body with shocking results. 

Sports Cupping

The use of suction is commonplace throughout the history of the Olympic Games for maintenance, pre and post event injuries, detoxification and recovery. Besides Cupping for injuries and recovery, Olympic Trainers use suction to draw toxins from the swimmers that have been absorbed from the pools that they are in for many hours everyday day. Cumulative Cupping treatments increase muscle endurance, circulation, lung capacity, lymphatic drainage and health maintenance during strenuous activities. Many professional athletes incorporate it into their training to enhance their overall performance, agility and ability to recover from their sports.

Orthopedic Cupping

Stubborn conditions that may have been present for decades are easily resolved with Cupping. Nothing works better at opening up and releasing joints, connective tissue and muscles than the use of negative pressure and movement.

Myofascial Release and Trigger Point Cupping 

Successful MFR stretches the fascia away from the underlying structures. Also occurring along the fascia are Trigger Points. Trigger Points are twisted bundles of fascia that are extremely sensitive to palpation and feel like tough, dense knots along the muscle. Trigger Points cause injuries over time because they break up the normal structure and operation of the fascia. With negative pressure, the fascia is gently stretched and unwinds without the discomfort of force.

Cellulite Cupping Treatments

Cellulite is mainly caused because of a genetic condition which causes fluid retention, an inefficient lymphatic drainage system and weak veins that result in ineffective blood circulation. Hormonal imbalances can also cause the development of more fat cells.  These factors result in the fat cells lying under the skin converting into cellulite. This cellulite pushes up the cords connecting the skin to the underlying muscle and creates the ungainly appearance of the dimpled, orange peel look on the skin that is a sign of cellulite.  

When suction is applied on the skin, the reverse pressure causes the cellulite to break up. Blood circulation is stimulated, and the fat and toxins that are released are moved to the lymph drainage network. Since cupping therapy also promotes a more efficient drainage of the lymph nodes, these toxins are quickly eliminated from the body.

Cupping is also known to ease the cords connecting the skin and muscle. In this way, fluid build-up is reduced and the skin develops a more cellulite-free healthy appearance.

 

History of Cupping

For centuries cultures have used cupping as medical treatment.  In Chinese culture cupping has been used to help remove stagnation from the body and to increase the flow of Chi (life force). They, along with those practicing allopathic medicine have used cupping to divert blood flow from surgical sites.  In early Egyptian cultures cups where used to treat fever, vertigo, pain, constipation and other illness. early on in history hollowed out horns were used to treat snake bites and infections of the skin in order to draw out the toxin or poison. The horn was eventually replaced by other methods of suctioning the body including bamboo cups, glass cups and plastic cups.

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses cupping in conjunction with moxa and acupuncture needles to restore Chi and to remove stagnation through the use of the meridian system. Negative Pressure Massage can be very effective in re-establishing healthy tissue and treating a number of conditions with great success.

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NMRT (Bowen Therapy)

 

What is NMRT? 

Neuromuscular Reintegration Technique is a Bowen Based Therapy that follows the theory of Thomas Bowen that less is more. NMRT is quite unique to the field of body work. It triggers the body's own healing resources to achieve balance and harmony, which can result in lasting relief from pain and discomfort. Benefits may be seen after the first session and may be long lasting.

It is a dynamic soft tissue therapy that is gentle and effective. The work consists of a sequence of precise moves on specific points of the body. Important “pauses” are incorporated to allow the body to integrate the messages stimulated through the moves.  NMRT promotes deep relaxation and self healing. It is safe to use on anyone, in all age groups. It is truly a holistic therapy that addresses the body as a whole and acts not only at the level of structural and functional systems but also at the level of the individual's overall well-being. This encompasses body, mind and spirit.
NMRT allows the body to heal itself without forceful intervention. It can be used to enhance the effectiveness of other modalities. However, its effectiveness, appears to be reduced by other modalities. It is recommended that no other therapies be performed for 4 days before or after a treatment. 
In many cases, the recipient can expect substantial relief after the initial session. It is recommended that a client schedule a second appointment to reinforce the work. In the case of repeated injury or chronic illness it may take longer to effect a permanent cure, but you will experience improvement gradually.
Once a client’s initial complaint has ceased, it is generally the case of “Let’s see how you make out.” You may be great for 4 weeks or 4 years. You will know when you need your next treatment…. that is another unique quality of NMRT Therapy. Maintenance is as unique as the individual! 


The Procedure

A NMRT Treatment consists of sequences of small moves, each at a specific site on the body.  The therapist uses light cross-fiber maneuvers of muscle, tendon, or ligament with no forceful manipulation.  You will be asked to lie down for up to one hour.  You do not need to remove your clothes.  During this time, the therapist may break or pause to allow your muscles to make the changes necessary in your body before commencing the next sequence of moves.  During the treatment, the therapist will discuss the importance of water intake and will recommend any other environmental or lifestyle changes necessary to maintain your wellbeing.  

In most cases, the recipient can expect substantial relief after just the first session. Two treatments are given within five days of each other; additional treatments for upkeep, and continued change occurs about every four to six weeks.  Even long-term conditions may respond very quickly.

Why does my therapist break after a few small moves?

Your practitioner will break or pause after a sequence of moves, to allow your body time to respond. This “pause” is unique to NMRT Therapy alone. The cycle of information being sent to the nervous system and feedback in return, should not be interrupted during this rest period. The pause will be a minimum of 1 minute.

Benefits of NMRT

  • Circulation
  • Lymphatic and Venous Drainage
  • Assimilation of Nutrients
  • Elimination of Toxins
  • Joint mobility
  • Posture
  • Normalization of Cellular Physiology and Tissue Integrity

NMRT can help with a range of Disorders

NMRT balance physical, mental and emotional planes.  Some of the conditions that have responded well to Bowen include:

  • Sports and Accident Injuries
  • Emotional-Physical Trauma 
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Stress Disorders
  • Neck and Head Tension
  • Whiplash
  • Musculoskeletal Pain and Imbalance
  • Respiratory and Asthma Complaints
  • Acute and Chronic Fatigue
  • Stoke
  • Bed Wetting
  • ADHD
  • Digestive Problems
  • Menstrual Complaints
  • Anorexia Nervosa (becomes nervous system)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Colic in Babies
  • Fatigue
  • Hormonal Disorder
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis, ECT....    

How does it work?

NMRT helps the body remember how to heal itself.  It is gentle yet powerful relaxation and pain reduction.

The moves create energy surges.  Electrical impulses sent to the nervous system remind the body to regain normal movement in joints, muscles, and tendons.  This helps relieve muscle spasms and increase blood and lymph flow. NMRT affects the body primarily through the nervous and bioenergetics systems to bring it into the state of balance.

Autonomic Nervous System Rebalancing

The autonomic nervous system controls over 80% of bodily functions (cardiac, respiratory, peripheral circulation, reproductive, endocrine, gastrointestinal) and is very susceptible to stress and emotional tensions. For healing to happen, the body needs to shift form sympathetic  (fight/flight mode) to parasympathetic (vegetative mode) dominance.  For this to happen, the body needs time and space to literally unwind and "digest" physical and emotional stress. NMRT facilitates these positive shifts.

Stretch Reflex

Most NMRT moves are done either at the origin, insertion or belly of muscles, where the Golgi and Spindle nerve receptors are located.  These receptors inform the nervous system of the state of tension, length or stretch in the muscles and tendons and are stimulated during the rolling part of the NMRT movement.

Joint Proprioreceptors

All NMRT moves done around a joint directly affect the joint and ligaments, which are richly innervated with proprioreceptors, those nerves that sense the position of your body.

Lymphatic Circulation

NMRT stimulates lymphatic circulation and drainage.

Spinal Reflexes

Many of the NMRT moves are performed along the spine over the erector muscles (two thick columns of heavy muscle on either side of the spinal column which run from the base of the pelvis to almost the full length of the spine.)  These moves appear to produce referred reactions to other areas of the body.  Often people will mention that conditions were addressed, other than the one for which they originally sought consultation,-even though the therapist didn't know about them (e.g.. improved digestion, elimination, circulation or sleep).

Fascia

The fascia, sheets of connective tissue, connects everything in the body: muscles, bones, internal organs and central nervous system.  They play a major role in muscle coordination, flexibility, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity.  NMRT moves free the relationship between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being addressed.

Acupuncture Points and Meridians

NMRT stimulates circulation of energy and clears energetic blocks.  Coincidentally, several of the moves are located along acupuncture meridians or on specific acupuncture points which are known to stimulate and balance the body"s energy.


Can I receive another therapy at the same time?

There may be times where more than one therapy can work perfectly well together. Other times, it may be problematic. It’d be a shame to be caught between cross purposes, where differing approaches “push & pull” you at the same time! That is one of the wonderful elements of NMRT Therapy….it encourages the body to reset and heal itself. Once we initiate this, to interrupt the cycle, would prevent your body from receiving the full benefit. Keeping this in mind, it is recommended that you take a couple of weeks off your current treatments and try 2 or 3 NMRT sessions. This is generally a good number for evaluating the benefit of a treatment, and will also give you a clear idea of how many future visits, if any, are needed. If this is not possible, we advise you to leave 4 days on either side of a session. We trust the technique and know that your body will continue to respond days after your session.


How is NMRT Therapy like other therapies?

NMRT Therapy is a form of bodywork that can achieve many of the same therapeutic benefits from these following methods;
* Like massage therapy, NMRT Therapy is a relaxing experience. Muscle tension and benefits to the circulatory and lymphatic system are recognized. Benefits are usually long lasting and clients report needing less sessions to reach a sustained improvement.
* Like acupuncture, NMRT Therapy stimulates the acupuncture points and meridians. This can improve functions in the body’s systems like digestive, respiratory, hormonal and nervous systems. This is achieved without needles or cupping. According to Chinese medicine, Chi, a universal energy, must circulate freely throughout the body in order to achieve good health. There are claims that the Chi in one’s body is clearly modified both during and after a NMRT session. 
*Like chiropractic, NMRT Therapy achieves skeletal adjustments. As the body responds to the moves, the soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, adjust tension and encourage movement. It is these structures that govern the alignment of joints and vertebrae. The affect is ongoing after the treatment and is long-lasting because the body has self-adjusted without forcefulness. 
*Like physiotherapy, NMRT Therapy is not a muscular re-education. It actually releases held patterns of dysfunction and inflammation through its stimulus to Golgi tendon organs and spindle cells.
* Like Emotional Bodywork Therapies, NMRT Therapy can stimulate a release of held emotions. This occurs quite naturally as the body responds to the treatment during the session. 
*As a complementary treatment, NMRT can be used to enhance the benefits of other modalities. There are many Naturopaths who now practice Bowen Therapy and find it remarkably beneficial. Homeopathy is another fine example of this partnership. 

How often should I return for treatment?

NMRT Therapy is generally effective in the first session. It is recommended that you schedule a second session to reinforce the corrections made. This is true of acute conditions. When we deal with chronic situations, those of which a client has had for years, we expect to need a few more. This is determined through the many responses your body makes with each session. It is relatively common for a practitioner to see their clients only a few times. We are keenly aware that the benefit occurs because the therapy gets the obstacles to healing, out of the way and the client’s own body does the work of healing. We allow 7 to 10 days between sessions, in order to allow the body time to respond. At the end of your treatment, you may be told to come as needed. You will at this point realize the benefit of your treatment and be able to decipher when you may need another. So, if the good results last 4 weeks or 4 years, then go with that. Remember…. NMRT treats the body as a whole and from time to time, you may simply need a tune up, but how and when, is truly unique to the individual.


What might I feel during the session?

During a move, you will feel a slight pull in one direction, pressure, then a simple roll over the structure in need of treatment, in the opposing direction.
During a pause, you may feel a warm, tingling sensation. These sensations are responses from your nervous system. The practitioner will continue, only after these sensations have ceased. Although there is little speaking during a treatment, it is important to convey to your practitioner if these sensations are still present, before moving on with the next set of moves.


Are there any contraindications to NMRT Therapy, and is it safe for all ages?

There are no contraindications to NMRT Therapy. A practitioner will always rule on the safe side and refer to a medical doctor. This would only be indicated in some serious cases such hemorrhaging, serious skin conditions, unknown chest, or abdominal pains. A practitioner will also choose not to perform a TMJ procedure on someone who has had TMJ surgery , as well as the Chest procedure on a client who has breast implants. There is the risk of changed tension that may cause drooping. NMRT Therapy is safe and quite beneficial to all age groups.

Are there any after treatment instructions?

Yes.  Your practitioner will give you a few handouts with instructions for making your treatment most effective.  These are guidelines to help your body gain the most benefits from the treatment and are strongly recommended.

Expect to The week following the treatment clients should drink as much WATER as possible to help aid in the release of toxins from the body.  WALK at least 20 minutes each day and WAIT one week before you have any kind of body work.

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