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Cupping

Cupping Is Hot

Everyone is excited about cupping, and with good reason, because it is an excellent modality to ease sore and achy muscles. Fire cupping is the process of using fire to create a vacuum within a glass cup which is placed on the body to provide therapeutic benefit. Cupping is usually done on the back, but can be applied to other locations of the body.

cupping_annistan      cupping-athletes      olypian_cupped      phelps_cupped

Check out some of these images from the Olympics. Cupping is hot partly because of the publicity they are giving it. The large marks it leaves as part of the healing process are bold statements worn by athletes and celebrities.

What Is It?

There are two main types of cupping, stationary and sliding, each type has a different emphasis. Stationary cupping means that the cup is placed on the body and left there for about 5-10 minutes, without moving it. Stationary cupping is primarily used as a method to stimulate acupuncture points on the back, it may also be using in conjunction with acupuncture (the cup is placed over a needle which has already been inserted into an acupuncture point). Sliding cupping is the process of placing a cup on the location of treatment and moving it around along the acupuncture channels of the back with brief periods of leaving it in place to provide extra stimulation on various acupuncture points.

Why Do It?

Cupping is valuable because it is a method that helps to loosen the facial layer, which is the first step in preparing the body to do deeper muscle work. Cupping increases circulation in the area being worked on. This increase of circulation helps the body to eliminate toxins from the muscle layer, as well as oxygenating the cells, and increasing the rate of tissue repair. The pinyin (English pronunciation of Mandarin) calls these toxins “sha”. “Sha” literally can be translated as muscle gravel. This muscle gravel creates pain, stiffness, fatigue, and limited range of motion. By bringing these toxins to the surface and inducing the body to fully process and remove them, pain decreases, muscles loosen up, range of motion is increased, and energy is increased.

How Cupping Fits Into An Acupuncture Treatment

Usually some general massage or Tui Na (massage focused on acupuncture channels and points) is done before cupping. Tui Na warms the muscles up, so that they are prepared for the deeper work of cupping. Tui Na also provides an opportunity to work some massage oil into the skin, making it easier for the cups to glide across the surface of the body. As it is utilized in Chinese Medicine, cupping is often considered an accessory technique. Acupuncture, dietary therapy, and herbal therapy are the primary tools of regulating the health of the body, everything else is added to strengthen and support these primary modalities. Cupping is an ancient and powerful tool for healing. It is also easily accessible.

 

Jocelyn, our Acupuncturist, is trained in fire cupping. She has office hours in Colby and Marshfield. If you have questions or would like to experience cupping for yourself, it is just a phone call away!

Wisdom of The Wood Element: Flex

Metaphor of Wood

The wood element is associated with all plant life, but its archetypal symbol is most closely associated with the tree. The vertical line of the tree serves as a connecting point between heaven and earth. The roots and branches of the tree are often mirror like images of each other (roots connecting to earth, branches reaching to heaven, and trunk linking them both). The wood element represent the internal map of destiny that each individual is born with. Wood is often associated with goals and the forward movement needed to reach those goals. The wood time of life are our growing years which include all of our childhood and our early adulthood. This is the time in life when we are discovering who me are in the world and what our purpose is.

Wood and Emotion

The emotions most closely related with wood element are anger and frustration. Wood wants to grow and expand and push past boundaries (think about deep penetrating roots or outreaching vines). Wood hates to be confined. Wood is compelled to take risks, accomplish goals, take initiative, meet challenges, and stay busy. When Wood encounters obstacles it can both become flexible and adapt, or it becomes rigid and immoveable. When things get in the way, wood reacts with anger and or frustration. Anger is often a signal that one has reached the end of a boundary line and or that someone or something has crossed one’s boundary. When Wood is not able to reach its goal and feel a sense of accomplishment it is agitated, irritated, and frustrated.

Wood’s Biggest Strength

The strength and power or wood is that of expansion. Think of a pioneer setting out to experience new lands that have never been charted before. It is like the Star Trek motto, “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” When wood is out of balance, it becomes domineering: attempting to take over and control things. “Bossy” is a good way to think about out of balance Wood. People with excessive Wood often sound as though they are shouting. If Wood gets too far out of balance the energy becomes compressed as though the person is in a pressure cooker that is volatile and ready to explode at any moment.

Wood Asks

• What do I do, what are my goals?
• How do I accomplish my goals, what is my strategy?
• Am I accomplishing my goals or feeling frustrated?
• Do I need to change my current strategies/
• Am I trespassing on others boundaries or allowing them to trespass my boundaries?
• In what areas of my life do I need to establish or reinforce my boundaries?
• Am I angry on a consistent basis? If so, what is fueling this anger?
• What areas of my life need a fresh vision and forward movement?

Moving Forward With Flexibility

• Nourish the Wood element by getting out and taking a walk in the woods. The forward movement of walking accompanied by the surrounding vegetation, especially trees, will bring stimulation and balance to the wood element.
• Bring wooded objects, furniture, or petrified wood crystals into your life.
• Sit down and write down your goals and your strategy for accomplishing those goals
• Say no to people and things that are not in line with your purpose, life mission, and goals
• Be accepting of other people’s boundaries when they say “no” to you

Wisdom of The Water Element: Flow

The Metaphore of Water

Water is both the beginning and the end of the journey through the five element phases of Chinese Medicine. Water represents the beginning of our earthly journey as we are nourished in the watery environment of the womb. The water element is closely associated with fertility and the seeds of new life. Water also represents the end of the cycle in that it is associated with the dark abyss such as the deepest parts of the ocean, and because it is represented in the winter season: the time of coldness, dark, slow movement, and hibernation. The Water element is concerned with our origins and our destiny. It asks what is my past and what is my future?

Water & Emotion

The emotion associated with the Water element is fear, anxiety, or awe. The spiritual fear that Water element is concerned with is that of extinction; the ultimate fear of death being equal to annihilation. The existential question of Water is “where do I come from?” The desire to know ones origins also serves to quell the deep fear of extinction, because perhaps if we are able to know where we come from we will also know where we are going or what our ultimate end will be.

Water’s Biggest Strength

The power of the Water element is consolidation; it is able to bring ethereal energy into a “solid” state. If the power of Water becomes imbalanced and extreme it leads to such strong consolidation that one becomes petrified. Water in balance flows smoothly and easily between states and is able to be as soft and light as steam or as solid as a block of ice.

The core wisdom of Water is to flow. Whether you are shallow or deep – flow. Whether you are a babbling brook or a raging river— flow. Flow in such a way that, just like water, you can transition from state to state easily with as few dramas and struggles as possible.

Water asks…

  • Do I feel strong and rooted in my history, do I know where I came from?
  • Do I feel secure about my future?
  • What is my purpose or “destiny” (What do I feel called to do and designed for?)
  • Am I living in fear on a consistent basis? If so, what am I fearing?
  • Am I flowing (solid and moving) or petrifying (so stiff I can’t move)?
  • Where in my life can I replace the petrifying feeling of fear by taking action and “flowing”?

Getting in the flow…

  • Spend time observing fish in an aquarium, it build your water element
  • Spend time watching water flow in a river or stream
  • Spend time near a lake
  • Swim
  • Soak your feet in water and epsom salt (the very first point on the Kidney Channel and the very last point on the Urinary Bladder Channel (both organs associated with the element of water) are located on your feet. Salt is the flavor associated with water

Wisdom of The Five Elements: An Introduction

Basics of Five Element Theory

Dynamic, ebb and flow, and the circle of life are just a few ways of describing the rthymic balance we experience in life on an everyday basis.  The early Chinese were astute observers of nature. They witnessed that there was a fundamental movement between all things in nature. They summed up this observation with the development of a philosoophy; the interplay of yin and yang.

Yin describes things that are darker, heavier, deeper, more hidden, slower moving, and cool.  Yang describes things that are bright, light, on the surface, fast moving, and warm.  The five elements of Chinese medicine are the first five fundamental things that are created by the interplay between yin and yang.  In fact, the five elements are descriptions of yin and yang on a gradient scale.  Extreme Yang is known as Fire, while extreme Yin is known as Water.  Yang within Yin is known as Wood, while Yin within Yang is known as metal.  Earth was originally the centralized balancing point upon which all the other elements pivoted.

Five Elements and Life Cycle

The five elements describe our journey through life. We are born into the Wood phase of life where we are growing, expanding, rising, and sprouting.  We move into our early adulthood in the Fire phase of life where we are exploring, diffusing, finding love, and starting to earn a living.  The high point of life is the Earth phase.  Earth time is a balanced time, where things are flowing along, and we feel solid.  Earth time is also a crossing point or a bridge leading us to the second half of our life.  After Earth time, comes Metal time, or the Metal phase of life.  Metal time is where things start to contract, consolidate, and solidify.  Metal time is our later adult years, often when people in America decide to retire.  After Metal comes Water.  The Water phase or Water time of life includes our very old age where we once again become flexible and fluid.  The Water Phase is also associated with Pregnancy and the seeds of new life.  In the journey of the five elements, there is no end, only new beginnings as the cycle recreates itself.

The five elements of Chinese medicine have many associations, and vast applications.  They correspond to various organs and meridians in the human body. They relate to our physical environment. They even related to interior design when we apply them through the principles of Feng Shui.  It is my desire to share with you the wisdom and practical applications that the five elements can have to various areas of life.  Please look for  upcoming blog posts where I’ll share stories, insights, practical wisdom, and a dose of good humor.

Until next time,

I’m Jocelyn Michel, with you every step of the way.

 

Medical Theories Of The World

There are many healing systems used throughout the world.  Medicine as we typically know it here in the west is called Allopathic Medicine.  It has its own assumptions, theories, and modes of practice.  But, it isn’t the only system of medicine out there. It’s good to know that medicine is a universal human need and that we have successfully created many different systems and theories to help restore health and wellness.

Medical systems tend to develop within cultural frameworks. Every tribe and culture throughout history had its own wise women, shamans, and the like.  Today, three of the most widely practiced medical systems are from three great cultures: Ayurveda from India, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM,) and Allopathic Medicine from the west. Even within our western culture, we have sprouted homeopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine and several others.

All of these types of medicine stand apart from each other in some of their major premises.  Ayurveda and TCM both believe that disease is a result of imbalances within the individual.  They have very different language and practices, but they share the assumption that health can be restored by bringing the body back into balance energetically.  Allopathic medicine uses germ theory, genetic theory, and deficiency theories to halt disease and its symptoms.

Let’s take insomnia for example. One of homeopathy’s primary theories states that ‘like energy cures like symptom.’  So a homeopathic cure for insomnia where your mind, ‘just won’t shut off,’ would be a very dilute dose of something that stimulates your mind, like coffee. This is very different from a chiropractic theory of spinal alignment, which would work to adjust subluxations in your spine in order to calm the nervous system and reduce insomnia.  TCM might look to balance your gall bladder or spleen meridians with acupuncture using meridian theory.

While we can’t define all the differences here, we can get a sense that there are very real and substantial differences between medical systems.  Those differences can result in very different prescriptions from your doctor for the same health problem. Many times I have seen someone switch systems, from allopathic to alternative or vice versa, to great personal benefit. Their new doctor had different foundational assumptions that created a different framework of medicine, different diagnosis and different prescriptions for cure.

Caution: We often get into the ‘Ford vs. Chevy’ argument in regards to medical systems. While we may be firmly entrenched in our own beliefs, we must recognize that all of these different viewpoints on health and disease are being used in the real world.  They have all been around for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Caution:  Finding great practitioners who practice all these different medical theories… that’s another issue altogether.