Monday is over! Today I am finally feeling a little more level headed after a great restful weekend and a personal day, which I will probably be writing about later this week. But for now, I wanted to share with you my most recent holistic treatments and why I think they are helping!
This past Saturday for the first time I can remember in awhile I woke up with energy. That morning I returned to my acupuncturist’s office for the second time that week. Acupuncture went well, as usual. I noticed I had some tender spots in areas I have been struggling with because of the cyst and my Crohn’s, but left just feeling pretty good and hungry, which was also another feeling I hadn’t felt in awhile.
In my post about Charleston last week, I mentioned that I was really struggling with the nausea and appetite issue, so I was surprised to notice that I was feeling full of energy and ready to dig into something delicious, aka I felt like ME. And while I am no doctor, I can only deduct that it was due to a combination of (1) sleeping well (2) being consistent with my vitamins (3) acupuncture to help my nausea, and (4) cupping therapy, as these were the only things to change last week. Since I talked to you guys about the first three in separate posts, I had to share my cupping therapy experience!
Some background into my recent holistic ventures …
Cupping really saw a rise to fame when half-man-half-fish, Michael Phelps proudly wore his bruise covered back throughout his competitions in the 2016 Olympics. I am by no means an Olympic superfan, but the swimmers kept my attention that year for a few reasons: (1) Crohn’s Disease came into the spotlight! Kathleen Baker, silver medalist in the 100 m backstroke, shared her story of battling Crohn’s to then go on and medal in the world’s most difficult and distinguished sports competition. Watching a young female achieve this level of success in a job that is 100% dependent on her body and her hard work was incredible. (2) Many athletes had spots all over them that made them look like cheetahs and I was curious about them. Some dismissed it, while others jumped on the bandwagon to try the new popular trend. I was one of the people who quickly dismissed it, as I am pretty cynical and am also not a high performing athlete, and thought it only had benefit for athletes performing at a professional level.
But, late last week, I decided to give cupping a go. After doing some research I concluded there weren’t any real adverse effects from trying it, and thought, it could at least help with my low back aches I had been having, and may provide some benefits in the autoimmune disease arena.
Some of the benefits I found via research were:
- Releasing deep tissue to ease tense muscles and reduce stiffness, which is why athletes do it, but it also helps with chronic pain issues like migraines and fatigue by allowing increased blood flow to assist tissues in receiving oxygen as well as reduce swelling.
- Improving digestion by lowering your stress response, which is important for us IBD people since we have an heightened stress response and is something I have mentioned lately that I have really been struggling with.
- Breaking up stagnation to increase blood and lymph flow throughout the body, including to the connective tissues.
According to those who practice cupping therapy, it can provide some diagnostic insight, and can tell the severity and location of a problem, based on body’s response to cupping. This message was relayed to me in part by my acupuncturist, but what I really appreciate about her is that she is rooted in reality as much as she is in Chinese medicine. She is able to explain some potential benefits this would have for me and my condition, without claiming it as a cure all. I have been going to her since I started my Entyvio treatments and have expressed my concern about the drug’s impact on my body, as well as other potential side effects like infertility, hair loss, nausea, etc. With that information, we talked through why some people try it and what the purpose would be, which made me more comfortable. Then we gave it a go!
The Big Stuff Not surprisingly, my lower back felt the most relief and was definitely the most impacted. I know in yoga they say you hold a lot of tension and stress in your hips and low back and no matter how hard I try lately, I can’t get enough relief back there. So when these glass cups were pulling my lower back up, it actually felt good. From the pictures you can see that this area had darker spots, which apparently indicates less blood flow or stagnation, which could apparently be due to my treatments and the various drugs I take.
Also you can notice that my right side was a little darker. I didn’t share this with my acupuncturist, but this is the side I am continuously having issues with due to an inflammed ovarian cyst. So it is not surprisingly that all of the inflammation is manifesting in some way. This was just further confirmed in my acupuncture appointment the following day.
Side Effects Neither acupuncture or cupping are painful and since I found them both to be beneficial I would absolutely try it again to further determine if it is helping me. As far as side effects go, the day I did the cupping therapy, I felt like I had Day 2 of the flu and that made work really difficult. My head was throbbing, I was a bit irritable and just achy. I then realized it may be related to the stimulation of blood flow and release of some build up in my tissues, so I drank A LOT of water, much more than usual, which greatly helped. I really did not expect to wake up feeling any different the next day, especially after the flu-like symptoms, but I did…. I felt great and am looking forward to trying it again at some point!
Have you tried cupping? What about acupuncture? If so, what made you decide to try? I love hearing from you guys, so keep it coming!