CranioSacral Therapy is a light-touch approach that can facilitate dramatic improvements in your health and well-being. It was founded by Dr. John Upledger an Osteopathic Physician who did clinical trials and extensive scientific research at Michigan State University from 1975-1983 to prove the effects of CranioSacral Therapy on the body and how it works. It releases tension and restrictions in tissue, both superficial and deep in the body. It helps to relieve pain and dysfunction while improving whole-body health and performance. This therapy can be performed while you are fully clothed while lying down on a massage table or it may be integrated with a personalized massage session. This therapy is deeply relaxing stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System and producing a state of calmness. People sometimes fall asleep during their sessions. CranioSacral Therapy can help with a wide range of problems such as TMJD (jaw joint dysfunction), Scoliosis, Lordosis, Kyphosis (curvatures in spine), headaches, neck and back pain, chronic pain issues such as Fibromyalgia, and other connective tissue disorders, concussion or traumatic brain injuries, PSTD, immunity and stress relief.
A growing body of research indicates massage therapy can benefit the immune system, especially important during winter months.
People looking to fend off cold and flu as the winter months arrive should speak to a massage therapist about prevention strategies. Regular massages have been shown to make the immune system stronger, according to studies.
“Researchers working with patients with compromised immune systems have found massage therapy can improve how the immune system functions,” said Jeff Smoot, 2015 President of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). “Those same benefits can translate to people seeking to fight off the common cold, flu and other seasonal illnesses.”
Massage therapy increases the activity level of the body’s white blood cells that work to combat viruses. According to research from Cedars-Sinai, participants in a Swedish massage group experienced significant changes in lymphocytes, which play a large role in defending the body from disease. A lymphocyte is one of the three subtypes of white blood cells in the immune system.
Remember, only receive massage therapy when you’re healthy.
What the Research Says
In a controlled study composed of HIV-positive adolescents, participants who received massage therapy showed enhanced immune function by the end of the 12-week study. The immune changes included increased white blood cells knowns as natural killer (NK) cells, which provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells.
An additional randomized study found women with stage 1 and 2 breast cancer may benefit from massage therapy for enhancing dopamine and serotonin while also increasing NK cell number and lymphocytes. Immediate massage benefits included reduced anxiety while the long-term impact increased serotonin values, natural killer cell numbers and lymphocytes, which work to strengthen the immune system and cognitive function during sickness.
1. Mark Hyman Rapaport, Pamela Schettler, and Catherine Bresee. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. October 2010, 16(10): 1079-1088. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0634.
2. Diego, M., Field, T., Hernandez-reif, M., Shaw, K., Friedman, L., & Ironson, G. (2001). Hiv Adolescents Show Improved Immune Function Following Massage Therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 35-45.
3. Hernandezreif, M. (2004). Breast Cancer Patients Have Improved Immune And Neuroendocrine Functions Following Massage Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 45-52.
The most shocking part of Michael Phelps’ performances at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janiero had nothing to do with his swimming.
It had nothing to do with his technique or hair color (looking at you, Ryan Lochte).
More than anything, people were freaking out over the giant purple marks on the swimmer’s back and shoulders.
“What in the world is all over Michael Phelps?” said everyone on Facebook and Twitter.
Not to worry, the internet came in for the save. Media outlets were quick to explain large circular bruises are a skin souvenir from cupping, an ancient Chinese therapy that uses heated glass or plastic cups placed on the skin to draw out toxins and help with muscle soreness, among other things.
Then the cupping bruises on Phelps and other athletes became laughable.
The number of folks on Facebook and in real life calling the bruises “hickey therapy” was laughable at first, but then it got us curious — does cupping really work?
The Sun Herald reached out to a massage therapist to find out what all of the fuss was about. And naturally, one of us had to get on the massage chair to see if cupping would really help.
Don’t worry, I immediately volunteered as tribute.
Brandi England, a licensed massage therapist (Mississippi license no. 2048), set up her chair in our studio and had me take my shirt off and get comfortable. She warned me the suction may feel a little tight or uncomfortable at first but by the middle of the session I’d be so relaxed I may be drooling.
My skin tightened as it became encased by the cup, but as I breathed in, I became more relaxed as England continued the process down my back. And three minutes later, I was drooling. Then I fell asleep.
By the time the cups came off, my lower back seemed a little more irritated than my upper back, and England explained it’s because the cups drew out harsher points of pain.
England was correct. I often have lower back pain as a result of weightlifting. Another dark area developed on my shoulder blade.
After the session, I felt refreshed and energized and did not mind the bruises on my back. I was told to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated or I may feel sick. I drank as much water as possible before falling asleep Saturday.
By Sunday, my back was a tad sore from the bruises, but I felt absolutely no pain where I usually wince. It’s often hard for me to relax my shoulder without experiencing neck pain, and I had no problem at all Sunday morning.
Many people commented on a photo of the process I posted to Facebook. They were skeptical. One person even said it “defies” science and could cause blood clots. Well, I’ll just agree to disagree.
Though I am disappointed I didn’t wake up looking like Michael Phelps’ twin, I am very excited with the results from one 20-minute cupping session. England said the technique is useful for just about anyone, including athletes, people who experience chronic pain and those who often get migraines.
I’ve already scheduled another session with England because I was so satisfied with the results.
So would I suggest cupping the next time you make an appointment for a massage? Absolutely.
After hearing a lot about Cupping Therapy lately, I decided it was time to learn something about it. WebMD claims that supporters of cupping therapy believe the suction of the cups mobilizes blood flow to promote the healing of a broad range of medical ailments. Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
Now I was really curious so I decided to experience Cupping for myself. I’ve enjoyed my sessions very much, so much that I am participating in a Cupping Certification Course in July 2016.
I want to have a conversation with you about Cupping and see if there is interest in this service in the Ann Arbor area. I’d like to just get a feel for how other people view this kind of therapy. I understand that a lot of people have never seen nor heard of Cupping so this would be a good conversation to be a part of. Or maybe you have experienced cupping and would like to share that experience with us. This will help me know what to look for as I begin my certification course.
I should tell everyone now that I will NOT be doing “Wet” Cupping where the skin is punctured and you actually draw blood. I will be practicing “Dry” Cupping. Here is a helpful video that shows a “Dry” Cupping technique, you should also know that I will not be using the method that involves an open flame. After you watch the video come back and let me know what you think in a comment below.