Active Release Technique (A.R.T.)
“Where there’s stagnation, there will be pain. Remove the stagnation, and you remove the pain.”
The old Chinese medical maxim holds that pain results from the congestion, stagnation, and blockage of Qi, or vital energy, vital fluids, lymph, phlegm, and blood. If pain is the essence of disease, then suffering is a result of obstructed or irregular flow in the body. Chinese cupping is therefore a method of breaking up the blockage to restore the body’s natural flow of energy.
Cupping Combined With Acupuncture
Generally, cupping is combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but it can also be used alone. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. For weight loss and cellulite treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area.
Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed. Using these points, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian channels, cupping strives to ‘open’ these channels – the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force). Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials. Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be ‘cupped,’ thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points.
Other Benefits Of Chinese Cupping
This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person’s asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common maladies that cupping is used to relieve.
Cupping’s detoxifying effect on skin and circulatory system is also significant, with a visible improvement in skin color after three to five treatments. Cupping removes toxins and improves blood flow through the veins and arteries. Especially useful for athletes is cupping’s potential to relieve muscle spasms.
Cupping also affects the digestive system. A few benefits include an improved metabolism, relief from constipation, a healthy appetite, and stronger digestion.
A 2015 report published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine noted cupping as an effective alternative method of treating acne, pain, facial paralysis, cervical spondylosis, and herpes zoster.
As health practitioners and researchers continue to study the benefits of cupping, this traditional alternative care technique will gain further acceptance and wider practice across holistic healthcare centers in the U.S. as an effective treatment for a wide variety of ailments.
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture
1. Analgesics (Pain -Relief) – It helps to raise the pain threshold to treat individuals with pain disorders such as back pain, arthritis, etc.
2. Sedation – Caused by a decrease in delta and theta waves. This helps treat individuals with insomnia, pain, anxiety, addictions and behavioral problems.
3. Homeostatic/Regulatory Effect – Regulates and balances our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, which are involved in rest and digestion and our body’s fight or flight responses.
4. Immune-Enhancing Effects – Increases the body’s antibodies.
5. Psychological Effects – Calming effects from the mid-brain’s reticular formation. Increases the release of dopamine for a positive, “feel good” effect.
6. Motor Recovery – Aids in the recovery of a patient through a bio-feedback mechanism at the spinal cord and also within the brain.
By achieving these objectives, acupuncture can enhance the effects of chiropractic treatment and increase the healing rate of an individual, so they can quickly return to optimal function. Learn more at the CMA website
Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex (P-DTR)
SFMA: Selective Functional Movement Assessment
Synergy Performance Taping
Myofascial Release Technique