resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
February, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 02
Massage Cupping Therapy for Health Care Professionals
By Anita J. Shannon, LMBT
The modern world of healing has embraced another wonderful ancient technique that has powerful results. Massage cupping is a modified version of "cupping therapy," which has been used extensively in Chinese medicine for several thousand years.By creating suction and negative pressure, massage cupping is used to drain excess fluids and toxins; stimulate the peripheral nervous system; bring blood flow to stagnant muscles and skin; and loosen adhesions, connective tissue and stubborn knots in soft tissue.
How Is Cupping Accomplished?
A cotton ball is clamped in hemostats and soaked with about five to 10 drops of alcohol. The cotton is lit, then inserted into the glass cup to create the vacuum. Move the cup over the area to be treated, remove the cotton ball and invert the cup onto the body. If using a manual vacuum set, place the cup on the body and activate the pump to remove the air.
There are two main cupping techniques: stationary and moving. Stationary cups are placed on the skin and left for a period of five to 15 minutes in one location, or four to six cups may be applied and removed cyclically in a technique called "flash cupping." These are the methods most commonly used in Chinese medicine. Moving (or "massage cupping") is the more commonly used form of cupping among massage therapists and other health care practitioners. Prior to applying the cup, oil is administered to the skin to facilitate smooth movement and palpably discover the areas of tension and congestion. Create the vacuum and place the cup on the affected area, then glide it over the surface. A cup may be "parked" for a short time on stubborn knots or over inflamed joints or tissue. Cupping can be used on the neck, shoulders, back, sacral area, hip, abdomen, thigh, upper arms and calves.
The sensation of cupping is often characterized as deep warmth and tingling, long after the treatment has ended. Cupping is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out yet does not add to it, and is excellent when used as a contrast therapy with cold compresses or liniments. Massage cupping is often used on the broad areas of the back, which is a wonderful addition to any massage. The treatment is sedating, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. (A deep snore is common!) Larger cups may be used on the back; the strong vacuum will mimic the rolling action of deep tissue massage without the discomfort. The movement may be long and draining, or circular and stimulating, for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue.
The skin will redden with strong massage cupping, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface. Application of liniments, analgesics, plant hydrosols or essential oils immediately following a cupping treatment will aid absorption deep into the tissue. The increased local blood supply will nourish the muscles and skin and allow toxins to be carried away.
Massage cupping is also effective in treating cellulite. A light suction provides drainage, while heavier application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or "dimpling." The thigh and hip region should be treated prior to a wrapping procedure to enhance the absorption of product.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this technique is the subtle nuance of the movements. Creativity provides a variety of methods, and alteration of pressure and speed produces different sensations. For example, the edge of the cup can be used to "scoop" in a cross-fiber movement, while vigorous circles feel marvelous on the hips, thighs and shoulders. Long strokes down the sides of the spine and along the ribs provide ease to rib cage expansion and breathing.
Stubborn neck tension is soothed using a slow, deep approach with small cups. This is not a technique with limitations - its applications are endless. Clients have often reported that the massage cupping experience stayed with them longer than other treatments and that results are cumulative with consistent sessions. Massage cupping therapy is also easier on the practitioner because it enables the therapist to go deeper without discomfort to the client or themselves.
Massage cupping can be integrated into almost any modality. The equipment is inexpensive (and easily cleaned and stored), practitioners can become proficient quickly with proper training, and it is really fun to do!
Author's note: Photos courtesy of Adam Larson and Davon Embler.
Anita Shannon is a Licensed Massage Therapist and a licensed Cosmetologist since the 1980's, specializing in skin care, body treatments, clinical aromatherapy and various modalities of massage therapy. She is a national educator since 1990, and the Director of Advanced Continuing Education (ACE), an NCBTMB CE provider established in 2001.
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