17 Dec 2019
Have you ever noticed those random purple marks many athletes or celebrities occasionally have on their bodies? I have seen Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston proudly don their red marks on the red carpet! Those marks are from a practice called cupping.
Cupping is an ancient technique in which therapists use special cups on your skin to create a suction effect. This suction draws circulation to the surface and may leave temporary purple marks from the increase of blood flow being drawn superficially.
This suction and negative pressure effect is used to encourage blood flow, loosen muscles and myofascial tissue. The myofascial system is a network of connective tissue throughout our body that connects the skin to muscles and surrounds our organs. The distraction and suction of tissue can help to stretch and release this connective tissue. It is commonly used to relieve pain, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, radiating pain, and inflammation in our bodies.
The cups may be made of glass, bamboo, earthenware, or most commonly, silicone. The technique dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
The practice of cupping work to draw the skin, muscle and connective tissue away from each other. The cups may be used directly over a tight muscle band, in an area of chronic inflammation, or along nearby tissue to release tension, encourage circulation, and reduce inflammation at those locations. Cupping has also been used to help speed healing from a nasty cold, cough or allergy symptoms. It has been shown to help boost immune function by moving blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body.
Poor circulation can lead to a buildup of toxins in the body. This build up can be the root cause of many different health conditions. Cupping can help to reduce stagnation in our body. This increase in blood flow to an area also brings nutrients, platelets, white blood cells and fibroblasts to aid in healing. This technique helps to release muscle knots and scar adhesions which can help with those stubborn injuries that seem to plateau. Many athletes and weekend warriors have found benefit from this therapy with aiding their body to faster recover from workout sessions.
If you are interested in trying cupping or have a stubborn injury that just isn’t getting better, the therapists at Two Hands Physiotherapy would love to help you out!
Jennifer Gordon (BScPT, CCRT, AFCI, GIMS)
Physiotherapist / Canine Rehab Therapist
Two Hands Physiotherapy / The Canine Fitness Centre
28 Oct 2019
By Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT
I’m getting older, and chances are, so are you! But what should we be doing to keep our bodies from declining? Aging doesn’t have to equal deteriorating. However, we likely have to be a bit more mindful about how we treat our bodies as we age and what we do in order to make amends for how we treated our bodies in our 20s and 30’s!
I found a wonderful article that touched on this subject:
A journal article, Muscular Strength as a Predictor of All-Cause Mortality in an Apparently Healthy Population: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Data From Approximately 2 Million Men and Women gives us some answers - https://bit.ly/2UQkHiB
The aims of the present systematic review and meta-analysis were to determine the relationship between muscular strength and all-cause mortality risk in an apparently healthy population. This article looked at 38 studies including 1,907,580 participants, in which there was a total of 63,087 deaths. Higher levels of handgrip strength were associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Also, adults with higher levels of muscular strength, as assessed by knee extension strength test, had a 14% lower risk of death compared with adults with lower muscular strength.
So, what does this mean to us? Does longevity live in your forearms? (That was sarcasm… it made me laugh anyways!) No! What this means is that strength is a predictor of health and longevity. And strength is something you can control!
If you go back through some of the past Two Hands Physiotherapy Blogs, you’ll find that a number of them discuss strengthening in conjunction with treating joint pain, back pain, neck pain, etc. Strength is critical for all things!
In society today, we spend far too much time sitting, working on a computer, watching TV, driving to or from work, and so on. We’re less fit than our ancestors. But this is changeable! The great thing about strength is that you don’t need anything too fancy to add some strength moves into your daily routine.
• Heel raises as you watch TV.
• Squats before you ‘officially’ sit down to the computer.
• Push-ups on the kitchen counter as you are making dinner.
• When picking stuff up off the floor, try doing it one-legged (let your other leg lift off the ground for balance).
At the risk of being called out as a big nerd, I will admit to not only doing all of these things, but also bouncing on a mini-trampoline (remember the ‘Rebounder’ from the 90’s?) for 10 minutes while watching TV. I also set up a desk for my treadmill (just a shelf board that goes across the arms of the treadmill) so that I can walk while I check my e-mails in the morning.
Go to the gym if you like. That’s fantastic! But if that’s not your cup of tea, then if nothing more, add some strength training into your daily routine to help improve your longevity. Wishing you happy strong aging everyone!
More about breathing
29 Sep 2019
By Margaret Kraeling, PT
I thought I would add a follow up to Laurie’s last blog on breathing as well as offer a brief exercise program that not only works on breath control but has a huge impact on overall health.
First – a few things that we already know –
- Close to 80% of the population breathes incorrectly ie: mouth and upper chest breathing.
- Your nose is the only organ that can properly prepare the air you breath in.
- Mouth breathing elevates the blood pressure and heart rate, worsens asthma, allergies, rhinitis and sleep apnea.
- Overbreathing and mouth breathing during exercise reduces performance and can raise the risk of arrythmias and heart problems.
- As Laurie mentioned the Buteyko method can restore normal breathing patterns.
Your upper airways are designed to pretreat the air as it enters your body. One of the functions of the nose and sinus mucous membranes is to create (NO) nitrous oxide. NO is a potent vasodilator and bronchodilator so it will help to lower your blood pressure and in will increase the lungs capacity to absorb oxygen. NO also kills bacteria and viruses so it can help you from getting sick!
When we look at the paediatric dentistry field we see that mouth breathing plays a critical role in exercise induced asthma and as well we see children develop longer faces, altered jaw structure, crooked teeth, poor concentration, poor sports performance. We also see a relationship to ADHD. Quite a wide range of potential impact just from incorrect breathing. Now further to the Buteyko breathing technique there is a very short exercise routine that can significantly improve breath control and have many health benefits.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) may seem very intense but this short exercise routine can be performed by most people. These types of exercise are beneficial due to the potential effects on your mitochondria which can have appositive effect on skeletal muscle, fat tissue, liver, brain and kidneys. That’s a pretty high benefit for four minutes of exercise.
The aim is to perform this routine with mouth closed and breathing through the nose. Start with 10 reps of each exercise at a comfortable pace. Ultimately aim for 20 reps of each exercise at a good clip. And also aim for four sets of these four exercises. It is definitely attainable. Put on some music, have fun and enjoy the benefits.