- What is Cupping?
Cupping involves the usages of glass/wood/silicone cups that are used to create a vacuum on the body. Depending on the chosen method, these will either stay in place for 5-15 minutes (traditional cupping)
or moved around the area (Gliding). There is also a less well-known version called “Wet Cupping”, with which small cuts are made before the cups are applied. During this version, the cups will be filled with blood from the client. Needless to say proper hygiene and qualification of the therapist are of extra concern with this method.
- What are the benefits of Cupping?
There are multiple benefits from cupping. The most well known reasons to use cupping is to speed up muscle recovery after workouts. This was very commonly seen in the last year’s Olympics, where multiple athletes were seen walking around with the typical marks from a cupping treatment. Because cupping is very non-invasive and doesn’t cause much side effects, it’s a very common choice for athletes after competition or training.Aside from the physical effects, Cupping is very well known for it’s soothing effects on the central nervous system. For this reason, the treatment is often chosen as a pain reliever or to fight stress in general.
- How does Cupping feel?
A lot of my clients describe it as a “reverse massage”. This makes sense since instead of being compressed, the skin and connective tissue is being pulled up and decompressed. Traditional cupping, depending on the amount of vacuum and duration of the treatment can be a bit uncomfortable, whereas gliding is typically experienced as very relaxing. Your therapist is supposed to monitor how you feel during the session and adjust when necessary.
- What do the colors mean?
The skin can show different reactions to Cupping, and each has a meaning as you can see below in the picture. Sometimes Cupping is used as an “assessment”, to get an idea of what’s going on in the area underneath the skin. If area’s display moderate or sever stagnation, these points are often focused on more during follow up treatments. Usually we see these markings become less and less noticeable as the client starts to react to treatment.
- Where can I experience Cupping?
In Asia, Cupping is a very common treatment method and is used to support the body while fighting disease and therefore is very easy to find. When choosing this option, make sure the hygiene standard is good enough since dirty cups can cause infection.
Also, in most of these establishments there is no underlying physiological knowledge. If you want to get cupping done for specific problems or body parts, it is best to find a Physiotherapist that is also educated in Cupping.
Of course, feel free to contact me if you’d like to experience a session!
So many time clients with spine issues tell me the following:
“I’ve had this in the past and my spine was out, so it had to be put back in place”.
Usually, they refer to a manual therapist or chiropractor that did that for them.
I believe this needs to be addressed since it’s simply not true and it can create problems which I’ll explain.
But first let me point out that the spine is a very strong and robust structure. It cannot simply be pushed into and out of alignment by quick thrust. If that would be the case, Rugby players and MMA fighters would be in serious trouble after nearly every match.
Also, in Australia, recently some students tried to take apart an SI joint. It took them more than an hour, 2 students, a hammer and lots of sweat to do it. There’s a small chance that if that’s the case, a microsecond and a quick thrust will provide any structural change.
As a matter of fact :
“No supportive evidence is found for the chiropractic subluxation being associated with any disease process or of creating suboptimal health conditions requiring intervention. Regardless of popular appeal, this leaves the subluxation construct in the realm of unsupported speculation. This lack of supportive evidence suggests the subluxation construct has no valid clinical applicability.”
Why is this misconception a problem?
Saying that a client’s spine “is out” creates two problems in my opinion:
- dependency on the practitioner or technique used to “correct” the problem. It’s the practitioners duty to inform the client correctly and in my opinion, and provide information and/tools to empower the client to take manage or restore their own bodies’ function. We as health professionals can and should help this process but dependency on us should be avoided.
- False beliefs about a structural “dysfunction” of the spine. Saying something is “out of place” and “needs to be adjusted” creates the idea that there is something wrong with the spine. The next time a client deals with pain, a logical consequence would be to think “my spine is out again”, which will result in thinking that manipulation is needed to fix the problem.
Both of these issues can be avoided simply by not using these terms anymore. Spinal manipulations definitely have clinical value but we should aim to provide information that is accurate and beneficial to the clients beliefs, aside from just treating them.
The Epidemiology of low back pain. (Hoy D1, Brooks P, Blyth F, Buchbinder R.)
During my session with Cheryl, she mentions right at the beginning that she might not be able to workout well.
She’s tired, her sleep quality hasn’t been good and she pulled a muscle in her during gardening work.
I make a note of it, smile at her and say “let’s just see what we can do”. During the workout session, she’s breaking records all over the place.
First, she did full sets with what her 1 rm was 4 weeks ago.
Then she completed double the work of an exercise she struggled with last week.
Last but not least, suddenly she realized that her back wasn’t hurting.
“Actually, I feel a lot better than when I came in”.
I don’t know if this will be the case at the start of the session, but clinical experience shows us that in most cases, it does.
It’s important because this realization creates a positive feedback loop which is the following:
- I don’t feel good, might not perform well
- Perform well, or better than expectation
- Feel good about performance
- Positive reference for next time when not feeling good
- Better decision making
As opposed to a negative feedback loop like this:
- I don’t feel good, might not perform well
- Decide not to workout
- Feel bad about not meeting expectations/ Lose progress
- Lose motivation
Mine, and Cheryl’s takeaway from this:
Especially when in the first 12 weeks of training, it’s important not to give in to expected outcomes that only give you short-term instant gratification. Make decisions based on planning, not on the emotion of the day.
Of course, if you find out that you’re actually hurting or not feeling good during the workout, you can still decide to rest. But at least at that moment you’ve made a decision based on actual feedback of your body and not a projected outcome of the brain.
I’ve been applying this mindset experiment over the last year -not just for fitness purposes- and it has given me great results. Hope it can do the same for you.
Okay, we can not put labels on people.
After all, we are all different and move differently. But the truth is that people mainly move in 3 directions, which are the following:
I will not make it too technical but the planes mean the following:
Sagittal (Blue): Move forward / backward, bend forward to pick up something
Frontal (Red): Sideways movements, such as when we raise our hands to wave to someone
Transverse (Green): Rotatory movements, such as when we reach to open a door.
The vast majority of our movements take place in the so-called Sagittal plane. Or often, actually to be more precise …
… the vast majority of our non-movements.
Fact: A bad posture places 40% more pressure on the spinal column
When we move much in the same directions, the body adjusts to it. In practice, we see that this often results in 2 different archetypes: extension type and flexion type.
As you can see in the picture, there are a number of things that belong to these types.
Not everybody has all the features, but they often influence each-other . As a result, they are often seen together. The more features you have, the more you belong to this pattern.
The features or this type are:
-An enlarged arch in the lower back
-“Flaring out” the rib cage
-The pelvis tilts forward (“Water spills out on the front”)
-The knees are fully extended
Extension types often come with compression problems, or complaints related to pressure when joint surfaces are close to each other. -and thereby imposing excessive pressure on the connective tissue.
The Flexion type has the following characteristics:
-The shoulders often “roll” forward
-The head is on the front and the neck is extended
-Upper back is rounded
-Lower back is flattened, or even rounded
– There is “no ass!”
– Knees are bent
The Flexion types are often the people with an office job. Working behind a desk easily pulls your body to this archetype . Mostly if you are not aware of your posture while sitting. This habit is then taken to the car and home where the “working posture” is continued to the “couch posture”.
This often passive posture can adversely affect the connective issue that hold the vertebra together. The inter-vertebral discs may also suffer greatly. Because there is little active support of the muscles, almost all of the strength ends up directly to the so-called “passive structures” such as the joints, ligaments and cartilage.
Herniated discs and instability problems are often seen complaints in this pattern.
Which back type do you have?
Which pattern is most like you? Once you know this, you can start balancing your posture through targeted exercises.
Under this article, please let me know what kind of type you are and what complaints you may experience!
I’ll be able to help you out from there on.
If I tell somebody “I think you may be a good candidate for Dry Needling, often their eyes open wide accompanied with a painful facial expression. The word “needling” doesn’t seem to trigger the best of responses even though “acupuncture” seems to have a more benign effect.
That’s a bit strange because by definition they’re the same thing:
Did you know that it takes an average of 21 days to change a habit or to adapt to a new habit. Are you ready to change?
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