Posts Tagged With: health

Cupping Therapy

cupping photo 2What is Cupping?

Cupping is one of the older methods of traditional Chinese medicine. Recorded use of cupping dates back to the early fourth century, when the noted herbalist Ge Hong wrote about a form of cupping in A Handbook of Prescriptions. Cupping was known as the therapy that could alleviate headaches, dizziness, and even abdominal pain.

Cupping, involves placing glass cups on your body on either an affected area or the acupuncture points used to treat it to create suction. As odd as it may seem, cupping was documented in reducing chronic neck pain by an average of 45% among people in a study from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany conducted in 2011.

How does cupping work? What does cupping treat?

In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is soaked in alcohol and then placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.

As the substance burns, the cup is turned upside-down so that the practitioner can place the cup over a specific area. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood. The suction caused by cupping is meant to free up and balance the flow of qi (pronounced CHEE), or life energy, in the body. Cupping breaks up obstructions, and creates an outlet for toxins to be drawn out of the body.

In accordance with condition which will being treated, the cups will be left in place for 5 to 10 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Practitioners of cupping sometimes will apply small amounts of medicated or herbal oils to the skin before the cupping procedure. By doing so, they easily move the cups up and down particular accupoints or meridians after they have been applied.

Types of cupping

The traditional form of cupping was described above. There are other forms of cupping, also known as “wet” or “air” cupping.

In “air” cupping, instead of using a flame to heat the cup, the cup is applied to the skin, and a suction pump is attached to the rounded end of the jar. The pump is then used to create the vacuum. In “wet” cupping, the skin is punctured before treatment. When the cup is applied and the skin is drawn up, a small amount of blood may flow from the puncture site, which are believed to help remove harmful substances and toxins from the body.

Prior to considering any alternative health modality, discuss with your primary health care provider. The cupping method should only be performed by licensed practitioners. When performed correctly, cupping will result in marking (non permanent) and bruises.

For more information on cupping click here

Photo by: Massage Float License: Creative Commons Flickr

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Biofeedback

biofeedback army medicineWhat is Biofeedback?

As spiritual beings having a human experience, we have all used biofeedback. We have used it every time we take our temperature or weighed ourselves on a scale. The thermometer tells you if your temperature is elevated. The scale measures our weight. Both devices “feed back” information about your body’s condition. The information assists us to take step to improve the condition.

Biofeedback machines act as a sixth sense which allows us to be privy to the activity going on inside our bodies. For example, electrical signals in the muscles can be translated into a form that patients can detect. The activity noted can trigger a flashing light bulb or activate a beeper every time muscles grow more tense. If a person wants to relax tense muscles, they try to slow down the flashing or beeping.

How is Biofeedback Used Today?
Biofeedback techniques grew out of the early laboratory procedures in the 1960’s. Biofeedback techniques are now widely used to treat many conditions. These include:

Migraine headaches and tension headaches
Many other types of pain
Digestive system disorders
Low blood pressure and High blood pressure
Cardiac arrhythmia
Raynaud’s disease
Epilepsy
Movement disorders, paralysis

Internists, nurses, physical therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and dentists all rely on biofeedback. Patients usually are taught some form of relaxation exercise. Some learn to identify the circumstances that trigger their symptoms. They may also be taught how to avoid or cope with these stressful events. Most are encouraged to change their habits, and some are trained in techniques for gaining such self-control. Biofeedback is not magic. It cannot cure disease or by itself make a person healthy. Biofeedback is a tool, one of many available to health care professionals. Thoughts, behaviors, and feelings profoundly influence our physical health.

How Does Biofeedback Work?
Scientists cannot yet explain how biofeedback works. Most patients who benefit from biofeedback are trained to relax and modify their behavior. Most scientists research has proven relaxation is a key component in biofeedback treatment of many disorders, especially those brought on or made worse by stress. It is well-known about the effects stress has on the body. Stress produces strong emotions. Many of these responses to stress are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, the network of nerve tissues that helps prepare the body to meet emergencies by “flight or fight.”

Imagine if you get angry at your boss, your body may prepare to fight. You try to ignore the angry feelings to keep your job. Life situations such as the one above and the stress that comes with it can make you sick. Your body will automatically prepare for action, but you cannot act. We all differ in our response to stressors. In some, one function, such as blood pressure, becomes more active while others remain normal. Experts report that our physical responses to stress can become habitual. Upon repeated body arousal due to stress, one or more functions may become permanently overactive and yields actual damage to body tissues.

Biofeedback is often aimed at changing our reactions to stress that can cause pain or disease. Feedback of physical responses such as skin temperature and muscle tension provides information to help patients recognize a relaxed state of being. The feedback signal is a personal concrete way for reducing tension.

The three most commonly used forms of biofeedback therapy are:
•Electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle tension
•Thermal biofeedback, which measures skin temperature
•Neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain wave activity

How many sessions will I need?
Sessions generally lasts up to an hour. The amount of sessions coincide with what a person is being treated for. A person begins to see results within 8 – 10 sessions. The treatment of Raynaud’s disease, incontinence, or headaches require at least 10 weekly sessions and some follow-up sessions if needed. High blood pressure, usually require 20 weekly biofeedback sessions before improvement is seen. A person will be taught relaxation techniques and mental techniques that can be done at home for at least 5 – 10 minutes daily.

For more information in Biofeedback, please click here

Photo by: Army Medicine on Flickr
License: Creative Commons

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SJC Group – Starts After Spring Break!

EATING AWARENESS TRAINING FLYER-1

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Assessing Pain

There are many people who live with chronic pain. Pain is an invisible, subjective symptom. The body of a chronic pain sufferer for example, a person with  back pain usually appears intact. There are no objective tests to detect pain or measure pain intensity. Pain is what a pain sufferer says it is.  In order to assess pain,  you have to take a person’s word for it.

Assessment of pain is key for effective pain management. Chronic/Acute pain should always be evaluated by your primary physician. Below is information that should be communicated to your physician in order to assess your pain.

  • Where pain is located?
  • What triggers the pain?
  • How long it lasts?
  • How often it occurs?
  • A description of it (dull, sharp, stabbing, aching, burning, throbbing)
  • Rank your pain from  1 – 10 (no pain to 10 being the worst pain)
  • What relieves your pain?

(image courtesy of flick’r user: deeplifequotes)

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