We’re all familiar with the expression “No pain, no gain” — it is essential to endure some degree of suffering in order to achieve.
Several ancient practices which developed in China and East Asia are becoming increasingly popular here in the West, where some amounts of pain are inflicted on your body in order to gain better overall health and even help you relax more.
Recently, sophomore Kim Ip sought out the healing techniques of acupressure and cupping massage therapy.
The Peninsula’s Premier Complementary Healing Organization (PPCHO) states that acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and a holistic approach to achieving better health and wellness. TCM developed in the East over 2,000 years ago where the fingers are used to gradually press key healing points within your body tissue to create effective physiological or psychological changes, that will further lead to correcting health problems.
“It felt like someone was repeatedly pounding their fist on me,” Ip said, on her experience with receiving acupressure.
Acupressure can also be used to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities, enabling your immune system to work faster and become stronger. Hands have the ability to be both powerful and sensitive, which is what makes acupressure effective in the relief of stress-related ailments and is an ideal method for self-treatment and preventive health care, by increasing your circulation, eliminating tension in the body and reducing pain.
“I tend to have a lot of lower back pains, especially from all the work I put into dance. I knew the pressure from the massage would hurt and it did. I didn’t expect it to feel that way, but it was worth it. My body feels so much better,” Ip said.
According to Chinese practice, health and wellness is dependent a smooth, balanced flow of energy within the body, known as Qi. Stressors, such as emotional stress, poor nutrition, illness and trauma serve to disrupt a consistent flow of Qi. Through the TCM process of acupressure, your current physical state is assessed, which consists of what your current symptoms are, what caused the symptoms and if they progressed. Your medical history is also looked at in order to create a bigger picture of your health and how to treat it.
PPCHO describes cupping as another form of TCM which serves to relieve your body of stress and pain, though suction cups are placed along your body’s trigger points in lieu of needles that are typically used in acupuncture. Cupping is a massage where glass cups are placed on your body. Before the cups are placed on your body, a match is lit and placed briefly in the cup and then removed before the cup is placed against your skin. The heated air expands and when the cup is placed on your skin, the air begins to cool. The low pressure in the cup allows the cup to suction your skin into it.
“The cupping was so interesting. After the cups were removed from my skin, my body felt so relaxed. It was literally like poison was being sucked from my body,” Ip said.
Sacred Peaks explains that the little vacuum the cups create draws the old, stagnant blood in your body to the surface of your skin, away from any injured area of your body. This restores free circulation, making space for more oxygen, living cells and nutrients to flow throughout your body. If stagnant blood, cellular debris and toxins are present in your body, the cupping can leave circular marks on your body, which indicates that the ailments have been moved from your deep tissue layers to the surface.
The color of the marks left from the massage therapy depend on how serious the stagnation is within the area, which range from bright red to a deep purple. The marks remain on your body for three days to a week, sometimes longer depending on how ill someone is; the more serious your condition is, the more time your body will take in order to pull the toxins away from your deep tissue and up to the surface. If patients continue to seek this kind of therapy, however, the patient will begin to notice that the colors become less intense as fewer toxins inhabit their body.
“It was just so cool!” Ip said, laughing about how the dark circular marks left by the cups resembled tentacles that made her look like
East Asian Medicine Gains Popularity in U.S
Semester after semester we are faced with the same difficulties: stress and anxiety caused by school, work and keeping up with the various relationships in our lives.
“I highly recommend this kind of therapy to anyone who doesn’t feel 100% well, especially if you’re extremely stressed out. You will feel like a new person,” Ip said.