Cupping is a traditional Chinese therapy that’s been used for thousands of years, but it gained even more popularity in 2016 when everyone noticed that Michael Phelps had large perfectly round discolorations on his back while competing in the Olympics. Many people before that had never heard, or never been exposed to this type of bodywork. During a cupping session, the therapist may use cups made of glass, silicone, or plastic. The vacuum pressure is created with either a manual pump, electronic pump, or even fire. Every therapist is different in how they approach cupping and will adjust treatment to the needs of their client. Some prefer stationary cupping which means leaving each cup in place for several minutes. Others prefer to keep the cups moving to get a broader effect and reduce the likelihood of marks being left on the skin. And still others prefer a combination of both stationary and moving cupping.
Cupping can be used to decrease swelling by stimulating lymphatic flow and increasing superficial blood circulation. It creates negative pressure instead of positive pressure; so instead of pushing into those tight tissues in an attempt to separate and realign fibers, those tissues are being pulled apart. This offers a far less intense feeling of pressure and discomfort than a typical “deep” massage, but with similar effects.
Cupping is great for several reasons:
Neck pain is common and there’s a variety of things that can cause it. If you spend time working on a computer, carrying a small child, or doing hard labor you may suffer from neck pain on occasion. I’m sharing my top tips to help ease the discomfort.
Neck pain is frequently the result of tension within the muscles. When the muscles are tight, they bear down on blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to areas, resulting in even more pain, like those nasty tension headaches that can come along for a ride. Stretching can help loosen that tension and improve blood flow, overall decreasing your pain levels. Slowly tilt your head forward, back, and side to side, until you feel a good stretch in each position. Hold it for several seconds and breathe deep. Release and keep moving through the motions and stretching. Listen to your body and find the places where the stretch really seems to be the most effective.
Heat & Cold Therapy
Heat can help to improve blood flow and relax the muscles, while applying cold can decrease inflammation. You can use whatever feels right, but alternating between the two will often help even more. Apply your heating pad for 5 minutes, then a cold pack for 2 or 3 minutes. One round may be all you need for very mild symptoms, but if the pain is persistent, keep alternating between the two for up to 20 minutes, ending with cold to make sure any inflammation is taken care of.
You can use your fingertips, knuckles, self-massage tools like a Thera Cane, or even just a tennis or racquet ball; anything that will provide direct pressure into the muscles. Start gently working throughout the neck and shoulders to warm up the tissues, and slowly work into deeper pressure as it feels right. Don’t be afraid of slight discomfort, but stop if you experience any sharp pains.
Get a different pillow
If you’re experiencing neck pain frequently, try switching up your pillow to see if it may be the cause. No one size fits all here. You need to find what works best for your body. And don’t forget that those pillows need fluffed and replaced on a regular basis to keep the proper support.
Of course, a massage session will help, so book your next session to keep yourself feeling your best!
Halloween is near and I’m sharing my top tips to keep everyone in the family healthy while enjoying the festivities.
When my daughter was younger she typically had a party at school, another at a friend’s house, and maybe 2 rounds of trick or treating. It’s fun to dress up in costume and roam the neighborhood with friends. I came up with a creative solution to rid the processed sugar from the house very quickly. The day after Halloween she would pick through the little bit of candy that she really wanted. The rest would go in a bowl for “The Halloween Witch." The witch would leave a small gift in exchange for the candy. Worked like a charm.
Grocery stores start stocking the shelves with Halloween candy in August. This means more time for us to buy, consume, and restock the office candy bowl. Can we take part in Halloween without letting it carry on for 3 months? You bet! Rather than devouring sugary treats from October 4th – November 2nd, try waiting until Halloween. Enjoy a few of your favorites, but only on that one day. It’s something you can look forward to and you won’t feel deprived. Go ahead and reach for the Sour Patch Kids if that is your thing. Shove the Peanut Butter Cups my way!
It’s the season for all things Pumpkin Spice! I love to stick to seasonal fare and strive to keep my choices as clean and nutritious as possible. I was taking part in a pot-luck and almost brought a sugary treat. Keeping in mind my own nutrition goals, I decided to craft this option instead. This bowl is versatile enough for breakfast, dessert, or a mid-afternoon snack. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Bowl
2 small Frozen Bananas
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
¾ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 TBSP Almond Butter
2 TBSP Maple Syrup
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
Toppings: Sliced Banana, Granola, Chopped Pecans, Shredded Coconut
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. (Excluding the toppings) Pour into 2 bowls and add toppings.
I am truly ecstatic to serve the Alle Kiski region by offering my expertise as a licensed Massage Therapist and Yoga Instructor. I look forward to guiding each client and student on their journey to achieve holistic wellness.
Everyone has a calling in life. In 2002, I was injured in a car accident that left me unable to care for my small child. Instead of following the prescribed path of pain management through use of medications, I turned to alternative therapies such as Chiropractic and Massage to provide a focused and natural treatment plan to address the pain at the root cause. This played a huge role in my recovery, and as a direct result of my experiences, I went on to study Massage Therapy so I could help others find the same relief from their stress and discomfort.
Later in my journey I developed a strong love for exercise and fitness. Through this newly found passion I learned that strengthening your body, mind, spirit, and emotions is crucial in your quest for optimal health. As a direct result, I was determined to help others get fit by instructing Group Fitness classes, and I now hold certifications from AFAA, Spinning, Yoga Fit, and many other specialty formats.
Ultimately, I found the greatest satisfaction in giving back. Supporting varsity sports programs and engaging our youth through fitness & Yoga is near and dear to my heart. Periodically, I volunteer my talents at local high schools leading gym classes and support team booster organizations through fitness fundraisers.
Here are a few fun facts about me. My favorite activity is walking my dogs in the woods and chilling with a coffee. I’m an absolute foodie. I love cooking exotic – healthy recipes. You can usually find me in the great outdoors taking part in activities such as mountain biking, running, hiking, kayaking, and zip lining.
I look forward to seeing you soon and helping guide your wellness journey.
Amy Feldbusch, L.M.T.