what the heck is cupping?

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Have you heard of this?  My mother recently came to visit me in Phoenix and I noticed a round, purple-ish area on the back of her shoulder and I couldn’t imagine what she had done!  When I asked, she replied, “Cupping!”……..like I was supposed to know what the heck that was!

Turns out, cupping is pretty popular and has been around forever!  It is a practice where a small cup first has a flame that is used to heat the inside of the cup.  Then the cup is placed on the skin (nope, it doesn’t burn you) on your back.  The lack of pressure in the cup creates a vacuum that slightly pulls the skin and muscle tissue into the cup. This suction draws stagnant blood and fluid to the surface where the body can more easily remove it. Instead of compressing, pushing, or stripping the body tissue against bone structure and against itself, like when you get a normal massage, cupping allows the person to pull the body tissue out and away from the body. Cupping is a classic deep tissue massage technique in reverse!

OUCHIE!  DOES IT HURT? (mom says no)

According to Acupuncture Today, “While cupping is considered relatively safe (especially air cupping, which does not include the risk of fire and heat), it can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment.

In addition, there are several instances where cupping should not be performed. Patients with inflamed skin; cases of high fever or convulsions; and patients who bleed easily, are not suitable candidates for cupping. Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back. If the cups are being moved, they should not cross bony areas, such as the ridges of the spine or the shoulder blades.”

This is the new rage with some celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham, to name a few….but if MY MOM says it works…….THEN, PEOPLE….IT WORKS!!

You can check out some videos on YouTube.  It’s pretty creepy, so I didn’t post one.  But hey, even Jackie Chan did it in the Karate Kid remake!  So!  There you go!

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He Shu Wu….who?

images What the???

Well, here’s a new one to me!  He Shu Wu.  (pronounced huh show woo)

He Shu Wu is is one of the most popular and highly revered tonic herbs in Asian herbalism.  It is said to possess almost magical properties and the ‘elderly’ love it the most, believing it can maintain hair color, preserve youthfulness and restore fertility.  What’s not to love?

According to dragonherbs.com,

He Shou Wu is widely used in Chinese tonic herbalism as a tonic to prevent premature aging by tonifying the Kidney and Liver functions, toning up Jing (vital essence), nourishing the blood, and fortifying the muscles, tendons and bones. It strengthens and stabilizes the lower back and knees. He Shou Wu is used to enhance sexual drive, increase sperm count and to strengthen sperm and ova. It is also widely used in Asia to maintain the youthful condition and color of the hair. This is one of its most popular attributes. Because it is a very mild sedative, it will calm the nervous system, and because it has components that are potent antioxidants with gentle anti-inflammatory action in the liver, it can clear the eyes.”

Well…….there you go! 

images  Pretty, no?  No. 

But, let’s summarize:

  • liver and kidney tonic
  • relieves constipation (with Dang Gui and Hemp Seed)
  • helps with insomnia
  • clears skin problems
  • elevated serum cholesterol
  • weakness
  • excessive sweating
  • pain

But before you get all giggly about this herb, there are some side effects you might want to investigate first……Read more about side effects HERE.  And ALWAYS consult your healthcare practitioner before starting any new program…

  • loose stools
  • skin rash
  • numbness
  • liver dysfunction
  • estrogenic effects

It can be purchased HERE in tablet form.  According to Natural News, William Rudolph, “Potency and quality are keys when consuming He Shou Wu. It should have been  growing for at least 4 years and it needs to be properly prepared (by a  qualified herbalist) to experience the full tonic effects. This is done by  slicing the root shortly after harvesting and then boiling it in a soup of black  beans. It can then be made into a powder suitable for mixing in smoothies, or it  can also be taken in capsule or tincture form.”

Learn more:  http://www.naturalnews.com/028709_gray_hair_He_Shou_Wu.html