I I must share my media gig about Cupping away neck tension and its usage by Hollywood stars… “Cupping,” is the term for an ancient technique used in Chinese medicine to eliminate the stagnant blood circulation that typically occurs around the neck and shoulders. Seems the sighting of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston with cupping marks on their backs has put this ancient practice in the news… A small glass jar with a vacuum inside creates a suction that pulls this stuck blood to the surface capillaries. From there this old blood can easily return to the heart to be re-oxygenated so that a more active flow of blood circulation can be restored. (Here Jennifer’s marks have faded from red to white.) Other partakers are Victoria Beckham and Jessica Simpson.
I was recently interviewed by Agence France Press to do a demonstration of this procedure for their global media outreach. You can view it at this link: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/videonetwork/2571529145001/Remedy-of-the-Stars-Cupping-Leaves-Its-Mark-on-Hollywood. I did two versions with different patients, one in French for some markets, and one in English that has already shown in countries all over the world. A French friend caught it on TV in Brazil. When legendary actress Lee Grant was about to win an Oscar for “Shampoo,” she declined this treatment right before the gala so as NOT to have marks. We did it the day AFTER… Sinice then it has taken 40 years for it to become fashionable!
What did not get included in the segment was my contrasting the cupping method with another similar technique called Gua Sah, a friction rub that achieves the same results with some added benefits. (The marks resulting from this style are visible on my patient in the clip.) I find it more comfortable, more controllable, less labor intensive, and more thorough. In my opinion, the second example of cupping performed by another acupuncturist shown in the video is an example of extreme over-the-top treatment that is potentially uncomfortable and excessive. Temporary raised red welts resulted from the strong degree of suction. This is not necessary to achieve results.
But both techniques perform a simple yet critical action of stimulating the blood, lymph and chi circulation around the neck and shoulders, and sometimes elsewhere on the body. The trapezoid muscles of the neck/shoulders work overtime to hold up our head, the 12 pound “bowling ball” that we carry around all day. And when it is hanging over a keyboard or a steering wheel, the head is more the equivalent of 20 lbs. Now with the trend among young people to slump forward, they will have even worse problems as they age.
This pandemic of poor posture across many groups and generations has become a pet peeve for me. I am on a crusade to help individuals learn to let their head ‘float’ evenly between the front and back by Leading with the Heart. Pulling in the chin and pushing out the chest. Immediately one feels a relaxation of the neck muscles and a tingling in the nerves as they start to breathe. Meanwhile, one feels a new pressure in the chest and sternum muscles as they begin to work. It is a good sign that they are engaging. This constitutes a light work-out for these forgotten muscles, an isometric action that makes one appear taller, leaner, and more confident. I implore patients to let Vanity work for them! Work it—and your neck and shoulders will feel sooo grateful!
Furthermore, this area of the body is in the crossfire between brain and emotional center so there are tremendous psychological repercussions that create tension there. These actresses with great posture literally carry the weight of the world–and its attention—on their shoulders. Actors are famous for suffering emotional tension while working their stressful craft and maintaining a career. Here are two eye-opening links about them and cupping:
What is old is New…!
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