A study conducted by the Tzu Chi University in Taiwan demonstrated that cupping, a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine, provided significant pain relief for chronic neck and shoulder pain. The participants in the study received a total of four cupping therapy treatments that lasted 10 to 15 minutes.
They also received acupuncture and massage. The effects were measured using skin surface temperatures, blood pressures and pain intensity levels of each participant. Overall, the surface temperatures increased, indicating better blood flow to the area, while the blood pressure measurements and the pain intensity levels decreased. This study confirms acupuncture and specifically, cupping therapy, can be provide effective pain relief without the harsh side effects of pharmaceuticals.
Neck pain is one of the most widely noted ailments in the world. Chronic neck pain is generally a type of musculoskeletal pain that occurs most commonly in middle and older aged people. This type of pain can be quite debilitating and it can affect a person’s life in multiple ways. Neck pain can prevent people from exercising, getting proper rest and even interacting with friends and family. The effects of chronic neck pain can be physical, mental and emotional.
In the past, neck pain has been treated with over-the-counter painkillers or prescription painkillers, plus anti-inflammatories. However, there is currently a severe opioid crisis facing the United States and because of this, prescription opioids and the doctors that prescribe them are under scrutiny. Also, over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen, are known to deteriorate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract increasing ailments such as acid reflux and ulcers. As an alternative, acupuncture and cupping are highly recommended, as they are natural and have virtually no side effects.
The toolbox of the TCM practitioner is filled with many items that allow for holistic treatments of the patients. Acupuncture is one of the tools that works very well at decreasing and eliminating chronic neck pain. But another modality has recently come into the spotlight and it is known as cupping therapy.
Cupping therapy is a very old technique. Traditionally, a flame is inserted into a glass cup, drawing out the oxygen and creating negative pressure. The cup is quickly placed on the area affected to form suction. The sucking action of the cups draws out toxic blood and waste products, while drawing in oxygen-rich blood. The oxygen-rich blood being drawn into the muscles allows for faster healing of the affected area. The increased blood flow into the area also allows for the tissues to heal and become less tense. When cupping is added to regular acupuncture treatments, the results can be amazing. Acupuncture also stimulates blood flow throughout the body, while reducing muscle spasms and decreasing pain.
Many people hold stress and tension in their necks, shoulders and upper backs. By incorporating TCM techniques into a regular wellness plan, chronic neck pain, stress and tension can all be relieved and managed. Always remember to seek out a properly trained and fully licensed acupuncturist when needing healing. The results that an acupuncturist can provide may just change your life.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.