What is CUPPING?

What is CUPPING?

If you have ever been in my office for bodywork then you have likely experienced cupping. It has been an integral part of my practice for over 10 years and I am still in awe of the healing power of this ancient technique. But what is it? And what does it do? These are two questions that I often get in my office and I generally like to let the cupping speak for itself, but lately it seems to be getting quite a bit of attention in both our mainstream media and in various communication avenues of our local health community. So I thought I would share my personal take both as a practitioner and patient of this powerful healing tool. 

So...what is it?

Cupping is an ancient healing technique that is believed to have been used by medicine people all over the world as treatment for various diseases and conditions. There is evidence that versions have historically been used in Egypt, Bulgaria and even in some Native American tribes here in North America. However, it is in China that it is thought to have originated dating as far back as 3,000 years ago.  Today it is used as a Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture treatment for various and many conditions ranging from kidney and liver disorders to digestive issues and depression. In recent years the technique has been increasingly used in the physical therapy, massage therapy and bodywork worlds to treat soft tissue problems like false sciatica, tendonitis and arthritis. Due to the non-aggressive nature and positive circulatory effects of the treatment the list of conditions that can benefit from it is long and quite surprisingly varied. 

Glass, silicone or plastic cups are generally used in the therapeutic settings and each one utilizes a different avenue for creating negative pressure, or suction. For example, fire cupping is done with glass cups and uses a flame to create a vacuum inside the dome and is by far my personal favorite both to use and have done. Silicone cups are gentle along the boney structures and can be helpful in small or challenging areas of the body, such as the forearms or along the front of the low leg. Static cupping, where the cups are left stationary for anywhere from 5-20 minutes (as demonstrated in the photo above), tends to elicit more dramatic markings and accesses the stagnant toxins that are stored in the deeper nooks and crannies of the body. Running, or moving, cupping tends to be a less aggressive approach and focuses more on increasing the elasticity of connective tissue and pumping the circulatory fluids throughout the area. In my practice, I work with both techniques and find that the constitution of each person and how a body is presenting in each session can be radically different. It is essential to read the patient's energetic and physiological status with care and clarity before every single treatment.

How does it help?

  • Increases range of motion and relieves tension

The vacuum creates an environment of more space in the body and provides an opportunity for the soft tissue structures to breathe themselves more deeply into their full potential. As the layers of superficial fascia are lifted areas with adhesions and scar tissue are liberated gifting the structures underneath with a greater range of motion. If you consider the energetics of massage work, the practitioner is pushing in and down into the body. Where there is already a compressed or tightened state this technique can sometimes only be minimally effective. Cupping offers the benefits of the exact opposite approach by lifting the sticky and compressed tissue and releasing it allowing for full freedom of movement and release of tension. 

  • Circulatory reboot and detox

Fresh blood floods the area quickly forcefully expelling the waste and toxins that build up with chronically tight or injured muscles. This process pulls dead blood, static lymph, toxins and even cellular debris from deep with in the body and brings them to the surface where they can more easily be expelled. The vacuum creates a pumping action that pushes and pulls lymphatic fluids to and from the area helping to clear edema and inflammation.

  • Accelerated injury recovery

The wave of oxygen and nutrient rich blood brings all of the body's brilliant healing agents to the scene and facilitates a faster recovery. Trauma in the tissues of muscles, tendons and ligaments is most often accompanied by our body's natural inflammatory response, which is an essential process during the acute stage. However, once the area is stabilized and healing begins flushing out the excess and old fluid minimizes the chance of chronic inflammation (aka coagulation of sticky proteins and old blood) setting in and increasing vulnerability to re-injury.  

  • Harmonizing the nervous system 

Activating the parasympathetic nervous system shifts the body from a heightened state of stress and action into a restful state that initiates our natural healing mechanisms. This allows for the innate intelligence of our brilliant body to engage and facilitate healing on an energetic, emotional, spiritual and physiological plane. The result can be a feeling of peace, deep grounding, less physical pain and full relaxation . The breath becomes deeper, slower, more calm and full. Stress and worries are literally and energetically pulled out of the system leaving more space for gratitude and presence. We begin to drop into the body and FEEL what it is telling us becoming more aware and in tune with ourselves.   

What about the marks?

A common misinterpretation of the marks that are often left by cupping is the assumption that the tissue has been bruised. I feel it is important to distinguish the difference between a bruise and the discoloration that can happen from clearing pathologic factors from the body. Bruising is the result of impact or a sudden compression trauma to the tissue. The surrounding capillaries rupture and trigger the inflammatory response in order to minimize damage in the case of an injury. There is no impact or compression present in a properly administered cupping session and the 'marks' that can occur are therapeutically valued because they are direct indicators of the level of sticky tissue, blood stagnation and toxicity that is present. The darker the discoloration of the skin the greater level of pathologic factors. Over time and repeated treatments these factors are cleared and the intensity of the marks either decrease significantly or do not show up at all.

Cupping therapy is one of my favorite ways to begin a bodywork session. Immediately on contact the cups ask you to be more present with your body and listen to its requests. It taps you more deeply into your breath and is an incredible ally in the healing process of many conditions of dis-ease. It grounds the energy of the nervous system and allows for more space for the body, mind and soul to feel nourished and fed. Above all...it feels amazing. 

 

 

I'm starting over.

I'm starting over.

Change is hard. It's uncomfortable and sometimes excruciatingly painful. It's also an absolute requirement if you are a person devoted to personal evolution. It asks you to show up fully for yourSelf and your own life. It calls you forth to summon the courage to wiggle and squirm out of a skin that doesn't fit anymore. In return, it offers the opportunity to reinvent yourself and imagine a new way of being. This is true if the change is a major life event, but it's also true of even the smaller things. Like getting rid of habits that simply do not work for you anymore.

I teach people how to consciously shift their patterns slowly, with small but powerful changes. I guide them to fully participate in the process with their body, awareness, intuition and freedom of choice all along the way. Eventually, all of the small changes add up and one day they look back over the last 3 months or even 3 years and think, "Wow! I used to live like that?". This idea has been a cornerstone of my nutrition philosophy both in my practice and in my personal life. I believe in it. With this approach, your personal wisdom is revealed.  Structured diets take the FEELING right out of eating and most people find themselves following a plan that does not serve them in the long term. It's a beautiful moment when you realize that your nourishing rituals have become so integrated into your being that it's only in looking back that you realize how far you have truly come. It is a powerful and almost magical occurrence that does happen. It works.

So why have I started a diet? 

I've started a full-fledged, structured, book following diet. I haven't done this in more years than I can count. I've even been known to say that I don't believe in them. As though their existence is subjective, like that of dragons or forest fairies (both of which are real, of course). So why am I abandoning my own philosophy and participating in something I often warn my clients against? What is up with my sudden desire to dissolve the foundation of my habitual landscape in this way? Isn't it a bit hypocritical? Maybe. 

All I can say is that I am feeling the call to shake the tree of my daily routines straight from the roots. To shake it up so fiercely that the dead leaves have no choice but to give in, release their grip, and compost themselves into new life. Sometimes creating change asks you to take a look at each habit one by one. Gently moving forward with strategy and steadfastness. And sometimes it flat out demands that you warrior up, uproot all the weeds in the garden all at once, turn the soil over and start again. 

The questions that have been coming up during my tilling are important.

  • Are my choices serving me? 
  • HOW are they serving me? Are they in the interest of my highest good or are they   supporting an old belief system that doesn't apply to who I am any longer?
  • What are the stories that I tell myself around why I am resisting releasing them? 
  • Who am I making those choices for? Is it really me?

No matter your strategy to cultivating rituals that nourish your soul as much as your body, the magic lies in the willingness to open your eyes to the parts of yourself that you would rather keep buried deep in the earth. The courage to SEE your shadows, listen to the stories you've been telling yourself, and be accountable for all the brilliant ways you have found to burrow away from your potential. It calls for no hiding. Anything else bypasses the core of true change. 

So, off I go on a diet journey of the next level self love. One that challenges my belief system and calls me forth to use my rebellious nature wisely, offer my surrendering heart fully and direct my unconditional love inward. Towards the shadows that I have allowed to lurk in the undermost layers of my earth. Most of all it is asking me to sink even more deeply into mySelf with my eyes wide open. 

If you'd like to join me on this incredible ride you can schedule here.

With love and devotion,

~Karuna

Table for one.

Table for one.

Imagine the honor of having Buddha over for dinner. Maybe it’s a strange thought, but seriously let's take a minute to imagine what that would actually FEEL like. 

It would have to be something special right? Something that allows him to ingest and digest what an honor this experience is for you. So you muster up the time to plan the menu. You consider his tastes, his needs, his health, his happiness and come up with a meal that feels right. You buy all of the ingredients with care and awareness…because after all, BUDDHA is the one who will be putting this food into his sacred belly, his clean and healthy body. Then you cut the vegetables, simmer the water, place the settings and pour the tea with a presence that conveys your deepest respect and gratitude. When you are done you realize that the table of your creation in front of you is your love in its essence. The smells, the colors, the steam from the soup. This is nourishment. 

What if you were the Buddha? What would happen if you chose to bring that kind of presence, planning and infusion of pure, unadulterated LOVE to how you nourish YOURSELF from the inside out?

This is an amazing notion, but is it possible? I have personally been experiencing how hard this really can be on a daily basis. Newly on my own for many meals during the week I’ve often found myself a bit lost. What do I make? How much do I make? I don’t want to make anything! Forget it…I just won’t eat. 

It can be difficult to cook for ‘just’ yourself. It’s true. It’s easier to stay out of the kitchen, save yourself the hassle and the dishes. Ordering out or picking up a prepared meal from the grocery store is real…and sometimes that’s the right answer. But I’ve been challenging myself to reframe the idea of cooking ‘just’ for myself. Why do we say ‘just’ for myself?  As though there is a hierarchy of people and we’re at the bottom of the barrel. “It’s just me tonight” insinuates an unworthiness, doesn’t it? As though if you were being asked to cook for even one other person then…that would make it worth the effort of manifesting love in the form of a cooked meal.

Are you worth it? I am.  

So let’s bring our inner Buddha home for dinner…

  1. Plan ahead. Consider what your body WANTS to eat. Our body talks to us so taking a moment to listen to its requests can really initiate the motivation to get to the store, in the kitchen and to the table. Lately, my body has been asking for salmon, broccoli and so much pesto!? I’m listening. 
  2. Cook once- eat twice. The idea is to make 2 different meals from the same 2 main ingredients. It’s such an easy way to have homemade, nourishing food that is easily and quickly available for you after a long work day. And you can still have some variation in your meals. Start with 2 main ingredients and prepare them bare…no seasonings. Then each night add the appropriate seasonings and additions for the meal you desire.        
  3. Make use of the crock pot even in the summer time. There are an infinite number of meals that can be created while you are not even in the kitchen, and there are few things more inviting than the smell of home cooked goodness waiting for you at the end of the day. Slow cooker meals don’t have to only be heavy stews and winter friendly. Here is a link to a wonderful list of warmer weather meal ideas. http://greatist.com/eat/summer-crock-pot-recipes
  4. Cook as though you are preparing for an unexpected guest. Make enough so that you can scoop out dinner and freeze the rest for the following week. This re-defines the idea of coming home to a frozen dinner. 
  5. Make it a date night. I have literally been lighting candles, playing music and creating an environment that supports being mindful, caring and attentive. It helps me remember that I am just as much devoted to feeding my heart as I am my body.
  6. More satiation = eating less. Preparing a meal with attention and intention feeds the soul as much as the body and allows for a level of satiation that can actually help you keep your portions in balance with your body’s needs. Savor each bite, feel how your body soaks up the nutrients and notice how the tendency to overeat goes down. 

It’s not difficult to cook for one, but it is a choice and opportunity to show your body that you appreciate it, and that you are grateful for all the delicious moments that you get to experience in life because of it. What you put into your body matters. If we want our body to soar in the direction of our heart’s desire then we need to nourish it as the miracle that it is. Choosing the response-ability, making the time to honor ourselves with the gift of food from mother earth, and crafting love infused meals with them is the first, and maybe the most important step in the creation of better health.    

Decipher the Code of You

Decipher the Code of You

Making healthy lifestyle choices is challenging.

One of the biggest obstacles we face in making changes to our lifestyle is the sheer magnitude of complicated and contradictory information that is floating around the health community.

Should I be a vegetarian or go no carb? What is a carb, anyway? Should I do interval training or yoga? Is animal fat the culprit, or is it sugar that's dragging me down? What's a calorie and are they all the same? What’s soluble and insoluble fiber and how can I incorporate it into my meals? Is eating organic really worth the cost and effort?

It’s easy to get lost in the information abyss, and a daunting task to tackle it on your own with little guidance to make sense out of it all.

That's where I come in.

In our work together we take you back to basics. We explore recipes, and create meal plans, and discover what it means to eat whole, real food that makes you feel good. We learn empowering ways to move your body that is sustainable and brings you joy. Above ALL, we'll learn to listen to the greatest personal health expert there is… your body!

We make small, but uber-powerful changes in your mindset and daily routine that allows for your health wealth to emerge… and stay. And I don’t mean just physical health. I mean a wealth of emotional, mental and spiritual health… I’m talking about your entire being.

Your Body is Whispering to You

Your Body is Whispering to You

Your body is talking to you. It whispers. Can you hear it?

I am here to tell you that you are amazing. In this moment in time, at your current weight, shape, with these problems and those fears and this sadness…you are an amazing accumulation of a life's worth of experiences. You are uniquely you and you are awesome.

You entered this life with purpose. You have gifts to share with the world and it is time for you to turn towards them, ignite yourself into your Karuna, compassionate action, and fully step into your empowered self.

My road to self-discovery has not always been easy. I have a lot of questions myself, and I have found that there is more to life than what we can scientifically explain. What we do know, though, is every body has a voice. It whispers through your breath, pulse, heartbeat, energy, clarity of mind, and digestion. But more often than not, sometimes it screams in pain, disease, sickness, lethargy, and confusion.

We have had moments when we wish we would have listened to the whispers.

Our thriving potential is directly affected by our capacity to listen, be present and loving to ourselves. Did you get that? Listen, be present, and love YOURSELF.

Self love provides the foundation for every single choice we make as we move through life. In our sessions together I will ask you to be willing to love yourself as much as you have others. I will even ask you to love the shadow parts of yourself that have kept you dimming out your own light.

We will dig deep and access that voice and your soul’s true calling.

We are creatures of habit

We are creatures of habit

Our body's expression of health is the accumulation and result of patterns we have cultivated over time. Oftentimes our patterns are decades old and rooted in our identity of self.

Patterns, in and of themselves, are essential components in the art of being human. They provide reliable and predictable results that ensure a known outcome and historically has helped keep us alive, fed and safe.

However, unhealthy patterns—bad habits— may result in disease, stagnation, and dysfunction. They tend to show up and conquer when our conscious choice is neglected and we become too comfortable with relinquishing our power to choosing our destiny.

Habits are unconscious, repetitive actions that are taken regardless of the benefit (or harm) of the outcome. Smoking is a habit. Sleeping late is a habit. Not eating your greens is a habit. Staying in toxic relationships, jobs, situations—all habits.

Rituals, however, harness your power and empower you into motion of co-creation of a thriving existence. Rituals are conscious, heart-connected, and chosen patterns made with the intention of nourishing your very essence.

Drinking lemon water upon awakening every morning is a ritual. Scraping your tongue every morning is a ritual. Meditating, journaling, practicing gratitude, thinking positively—all ritualistic. 

In our sessions together we establish nourishing rituals that will transform your health.

Creating sustainable rituals = game changer.