A couple of years back, I had amenorrhea (loss of my period) due to a traumatic event in my life (more to come on that in a later post) and was waiting months for it to come. I went the typical route and tried to gain some weight back thinking I didn’t have enough body fat… that didn’t work. After a few more months, I visited the gyno and had tests ran and hormone levels checked, everything seemed fine. After some more time, the gyno suggested I go on a “low dose” of hormones for just 7 days to regain my period. I was extremely hesitant, as the times before I was ever on birth control or hormones I BLEW up, especially in the hip area. I did NOT want to deal with that– but I felt like I had no choice.
7 Days and probably 10 pounds later, still no sign of my period. I was in agony, my body was retaining an incredible amount of water, I was so bloated and showing all signs of my period but it just wouldn’t come. I called the doctors office asking why its weeks later, and my period still didn’t come and was told “I am not sure why it didn’t come yet”. That wasn’t enough of an answer for me. The stress alone from the frustration I had to my body’s response to the hormones made me so miserable. I lost sleep over this, knowing there had to be a better way. I researched day and night, every moment I could to find a natural remedy for my period to regain itself.
Then one night as I was in my kitchen eating a late night snack (hormones were just out of control), I went on my laptop and found an article deep within the pages of Google that was from a girl who was also into fitness who sounded like she had the same issues as me, however she was able to regain it by doing acupuncture! I asked around and ended up finding a Chinese acupuncturist that was recommended to me by a good friend.
A bit nervous on the massage table, I had no idea what I was getting myself into… but if I was told that I needed to drink a gallon of magic liquid to relieve my PMS symptoms and regain my period, I’d do it. I was desperate. So in my mind, there was nothing to lose. The practitioner spoke very little English, but she told me to lay on my stomach to relax my muscles first. I heard glass cups moving around, smelled rubbing alcohol, heard a lighter, felt heat above me, then had a cup put on my back which she first moved around and rubbed around. I had no idea what was happening, but it felt oddly satisfying.
After one treatment and 24 hours later, my period came. It was such a relief both physically and mentally, I could hardly believe it. But I didn’t write this post to talk about my woman troubles… we can get to that another day… I wanted to talk about the pleasantly unique technique known as cupping that the acupuncturist practiced on me prior to placing the acupuncture needles to relax my muscles and remove stagnant blood and toxins from my body.
It was such a unique sensation and something I never heard of before, so I ended up doing some research on it when I came home and found that this technique goes back to ancient times to heal a multitude of ailments in the body. If you remember watching the 2016 Summer Olympics, everyone was talking about Michael Phelps and why he had dark purple alien looking spots all over his shoulders and back. It then became a “thing” for athletes to get cupped to restore their aching muscles. Little did I know that cupping would become one of my favorite ways of detoxifying my body and restoring my aching muscles.
How does cupping therapy work?
Using the traditional method, an acupuncturist or certified massage therapist soaks a cotton ball in alcohol and lights in on fire inside a rounded glass cup.
They then remove the flame and quickly place the cup on your skin, typically the backside of the body, creating a vacuum suction which draws up the skin tissue. The skin seals the hot air inside the cup, and as the air inside cools, the skin contracts.
What are some of the benefits of cupping therapy?
- Increases blood flow. Increased blood flow is beneficial to speed up the healing process.
- Manages pain-based conditions. Cupping is known to treat a lot of pain-based conditions such as lower back pain, fibromyalgia and plantar fasciitis.
- Boosts athletic recovery. The process draws blood from your vessels and into your tissue which naturally triggers an inflammatory response. This mobilizes antibodies to the area which help to repair muscle fibers after a tough training regime.
- Detoxing the body.
Also helps treat the following:
- Common cold and cough.
- Migraines and chronic headaches.
- High and low blood pressure.
- Frequent heartburn and stomach upset, poor digestion and stomach distension.
- Nerve pain.
- May help weight loss.
- Cellulite reduction.
What to expect after a cupping session?
Cupping draws stagnant (toxic) blood and other fluids that has fallen out of healthy circulation up to the skin level and away from the injury so that free and healthy circulation can be restored to the affected area. Cupping creates space for oxygen, living cells and nutrients needed for healing.
After a dry cupping session, you will notice circular marks on the skin which almost look like a hickey or bruise, but these marks are actually painless. If I have an area of localized pain before my session, I will often notice the marks in those areas will be significantly darker than other treated areas. The darker the mark, the more stagnant blood that has been pulled to the surface. The colors of these marks can range from pinkish that disappears in a few hours to deep purple that can take anywhere between three days to a week to clear completely.
In my experience, pain has been reduced almost immediately. I am advised by the practitioner not to shower, sweat or exert myself for at least six hours following the treatment. As a holistic health coach, I would recommend that you take extra loving care of your body and fuel it with light, balanced meals both before and after your cupping sessions. Drinking lots of water (add lemon) will also help speed up the detoxification process. Try to limit your caffeine intake and avoid alcohol, heavy and greasy foods so your body has time to heal and rest.
I also try to ensure I have a light day of relaxation ahead of a session, or sometimes will plan my session on an evening before a day off of work or training, since I am typically exhausted from the detox and muscle release. About 24-48 hours later, though, I feel completely revived from the inside out!
So what do you think?
Now that you know its not painful and all the benefits that come from it, would you try cupping? Message me if you want to where I go locally for this treatment.