My Cup Has Runneth Over . . . On My Back: Personal Challenge, Day 22 (10.8.12)

Considering how sore I am from yesterday’s adventure, I decided that I would try something a little less active.  Since I had an appointment scheduled with my amazing acupuncturist, Dawna Ara, I decided that maybe I should try something different.

I first started seeing Dawna after my car accident back in May.  She did a wonderful job assisting with my recovery and healing process.  And even though I am technically done with the therapy on my injuries, I keep going back to see her because I feel so good after an acupuncture session.  She is helping me deal with the stress from my job and the pain from my severe Endometriosis.  So today, I asked her if there was something else that I should try besides the acupuncture.  She mentioned Cupping.

I remember the first time I had ever heard of cupping was from a tabloid story about Gwyneth Paltrow’s spots on her back.  Then it came out that the spots were a result of cupping, a form of acupuncture that involves heated cups over the skin to promote blood flow and ease stress, aches and pains.  Cupping can involve the acupuncture needles but Dawna chooses to just stick with the heated cups.  She isn’t a fan of the more extreme forms of cupping that literally involves blood flowing…into the cups.

According to Acupuncture Today, “cupping is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese medicine.”  It is often used to treat congestion, arthritis, pain, depression and to reduce swelling.  The American Cancer Society states that “Cupping is supposed to realign and balance the flow of one’s vital energy or life force called qi or ch’i, pronounced “kee” or “chee.” In the presence of illness or injury, proponents say, the qi is disturbed and there may be too much or too little at certain points in the body. The practitioner diagnoses any imbalances in the qi and attempts to restore them.”  It is also thought that this is an excellent way to remove toxins from the body.  There is no real scientific proof of the benefits of cupping but if the Chinese have been using this for thousands of years, there has to be something working.  For me, as a Libra who seeks balance, how could I possibly resist trying a new method to get rid of the imbalances in my life?

For today, my imbalances lie in my sore muscles and Dawna decided to use the fire cupping technique to treat my condition.  After finishing up my acupuncture, Dawna  applied oils and lotions to my back.  (This is to help move some of the jars up and down my back).  She pulled out several glass jars that looked like mini fish bowls.  She used a swab to apply alcohol to the inside of the glass jars and used the flame from a lighter to ignite the substance, removing the oxygen from the jar.  She quickly placed the heated jar on my back and as it cooled, it created a vacuum that caused my skin to rise up into the jar.

My back after cupping

It sounds like it would hurt but it didn’t.  It was an intense feeling but not at all painful.  She placed several jars on my back, some remained stationary while others were moved around my back.  Again, there was nothing painful about this procedure.  I felt like I was getting a deep tissue massage as she moved some of the jars up and down my back.  After a few minutes, I heard the popping noises as she took the jars off my back.  I felt great.

And even though I have red streaks and hickey-type marks on my back, it was totally worth it.  My muscles are relaxed and the majority of the soreness I felt before drifted away into the glass vacuums.  I would definitely do this again.

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