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Archive for February, 2011

by Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP, Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist

I love cupping. It is useful for both  diagnosis and treatment of various conditions. Western conditions that can benefit from cupping include respiratory issues (chest congestion, asthma, and cough), pain conditions (acute and chronic neck and back pain, headaches), menstrual irregularities (PMS, cramping),stress (including sleep issues and tension,) and some gastrointestinal issues.

As an acupuncturist at Glow, I’ve been trained in the Eastern art of diagnosis according to the patients symptoms. For instance, the Oriental medical condition cupping treats is stasis or stasis with heat. This means that it is effective is treating any conditions with fixed stabbing type pain (vs. diffuse, achy pain which is better with pressure.)

Cupping is a suction technique which creates pumping action inside the muscle by drawing blood to the surface and allowing new blood to flow into the muscle to allow repair and healing. It’s kind of like a reverse massage.This can either be done using a lit cotton ball to create a vacuum (called fire cupping) or with specialized cups  that allow air to be pumped out (called air cupping.)It leaves round “hickies “ on the back which can be purple, red or dark-colored. The color and duration of the marks  indicates the amount of stasis or heat in the body. The more stagnation (or stasis) that is present, the more purple the marks. The more heat that is present the redder the marks.

Cupping is usually done on the back but can be done anywhere that suction can be created. For contradictions as well as a history of cupping see this article in Acupuncture Today.

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By Dr. Rachel Erickson

Millions of you are suffering from stress, be it work related or issues at home. You may feel “tired and wired” or you may suffer so much that you are flat out on your face and can’t function. There are different levels of stress and what symptoms of stress you have tells a lot about how far down the path of Maladaptive Stress Syndrome (MSS) you are, and how far back you have to come to feel good again.

Let’s break it down. First, your body is designed to deal with stress in sequential stages. There’s acute stages and endurance stages and then when your body can’t endure anymore, the final stage of MSS.

The first stage of MSS is 0. This is what your body does every day to regulate your response to various stimuli in your environment. It’s a fine balancing act between hypovigilance and hypervigilance. This is your day to day ebb and flow of mental concentration and motor activity.

A Normal healthy response to stress is MSS-1. You meet a stimulating stressful moment, your body reacts accordingly, the stress goes away, and you go back to feeling normal again. For instance, if you were to get attacked by an angry dog. You would feel superhuman strong, amped up to defend your life, your eyes would dilate so you can see better, your heart would pump faster and your muscles would engorge with blood so you could run away or fight better. Many of you have experienced this kind of stress response. It leaves you feeling hung over and exhausted, but nothing a good night’s rest can’t fix.

Maladaptive Stress Syndrome-2 is characterized as the Suppression Phase. This is when you have an increased tendency to get sick, experience some depression or obsessive compulsiveness, anxiety, lack of appetite, high lipid levels, insulin resistance, diabetes and other chronic degenerative diseases. Adrenal androgens (testosterone) increase which can lead to abnormal hair growth in women.

The third and final stage is the Exhaustion Phase: MSS-3 is when your body can’t keep producing the high amounts of hormones and neurotransmitters it once was because you are flat-out tired and nutrient deficient. Commonly known as “adrenal exhaustion”, I see this in my patients who’ve had 2+ decades of high stress jobs, long term sickness and death of loved ones, or highly stressful long term relationships.

So what to do about all this stress? Let’s be unambiguous about this. The best thing you can do for yourself to deal with life in high-stress times is to eat right and move your body! This can be a difficult challenge especially while you’re stressed, so don’t do it alone. Involve a friend or a family member in your goals, see us at Glow to help you get on a good track with dietary choices and healthy exercise. Get acupuncture and Chinese herbs regularly to calm you down. See Dr. Rachel for stress testing, herbs, and diet and lifestyle counseling to balance out your stressful moments.

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