Cupping

Cupping has been used throughout the world for centuries and had been a part of mainstream medicine in Europe until the 1900’s. It faded from practice in the Western world after the Second World War, but has always been a mainstay in Chinese medicine and has been used in China for thousands of years. Cupping is making a comeback, and it’s popularity has really shot up after Michael Phelps was spotted at the Rio Olympics sporting cupping marks all over his back and shoulders.

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If you’re unfamiliar with cupping, it does seem strange. Cupping is actually a highly effective method for relaxing sore tight muscles, improving blood circulation, and helping reduce pain.

How does it work exactly? Traditionally, a Chinese medicine practitioner will use glass cups, and using a flame, removes the oxygen from the inside which creates a vacuum effect. Cups can be made from glass, bamboo, silicone, or plastic.

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Occasionally the cups will be moved along larger muscles, often likened to a deep tissue massage and will come with similar benefits. Often though, the cups will be left in place to exert their benefit. After 15-20 minutes the cups will be removed, leaving pink, to red to purple marks. Darker marks usually mean there is more stagnation in the tissue. These marks will fade and disappear within 5-7 days.

Cupping is beneficial for so many things, from tight muscles, areas with knots and pain, trigger points, pain from being in front of a keyboard all day (think hunched shoulders)… It can reduce adhesions and softens scar tissue (surgical scars, c-section scarring), help with menstrual pain, chronic coughs, early stages of the common cold, carpel tunnel, tennis elbow, IT band tightness……. AND…… it just plain ol’ feels amazing.

If you think you would benefit from cupping, give the clinic a call or book yourself in for a treatment.

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Fall Transitions for Families

By Melanie Rathgeber, MC, MA, RCC

Families change over time and transition through different stages. In psychology, we use the term Family Life Cycles to describe the patterns of changes and transitions that most families go through. Transitions from one stage to the next are often where challenges are seen.[1]

The start of September can bring many transitions for individuals and for families. My nephew is leaving for university today and I can’t help but think of all the emotions it brings for him, as well as his parents. For him, it brings feelings of excitement, adventure, and independence. His parents of course have mixed emotions. They are proud and are confident they have prepared him well for this next stage in life. However, many of you will know that this time can also bring feelings of loneliness and sadness: the feelings that come with an ’empty nest’.

With any major life transition, we can experience excitement and anticipation. At the same time, we can expect there to be feelings of loss. Transitions signal a change in our identity — yes the building of a new identity, but also the loss of an old one. As with any loss, we experience new thoughts and emotions in order to adapt. We need to allow ourselves time and opportunities to reflect upon the past, and then to envision our life in our new reality. It can be tricky. For a while, we feel like we are going back and forth. Will my nephew feel like a brave young man setting out in the world, or will he feel like a child, needing the advice and guidance of his family? For a long time, he will likely feel both. He will waffle back and forth, and at times it will feel confusing, but eventually he will become more comfortable with his new identify while looking back fondly (but not forgetting) his life with his family.

For his parents, the feelings of loss will be more central. They will notice his absence in their daily lives; they will notice the difference in conversation at the dinner table; ; they will miss the sounds of banging drums coming from the basement (okay maybe they won’t miss that so much!). But underneath, there will naturally be feelings of excitement for them too, though they will not come as quickly or easily. There is excitement about pursuing new individual interests (or rekindling old ones), there are chances to reform a stronger bond as a couple, similar to the bond couples have before their children are born, and there are new traditions to build and to look forward to. There will be new weekend trips to visit their son. There will be holiday celebrations with special significance. Because after all, now when he comes home he will truly notice and appreciate how clean the house is, how good the cooking is, and how much he truly still needs to be part of his family, just in a slightly different way.

If you are experiencing a life transition and want to learn more about feelings associated with loss and change, you are welcome to book a counselling appointment or consultation with Melanie.


[1]Gerson, R. (1995). The family life cycle. Phases, stages, and crises. In Mikesell RH, Lusterman, DD & McDaniel S. (Eds.). Handbook of family psychology and systems theory. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1]Gerson, R. (1995). The family life cycle. Phases, stages, and crises. In Mikesell RH, Lusterman, DD & McDaniel S. (Eds.). Handbook of family psychology and systems theory. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.