There’s no denying it now. It’s autumn. This time of year ushers in a burst of bright colors, cooler days and waning daylight. According to the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine, we are in the season of Metal. The organs associated this this element are the lungs and the large intestine. On a practical level, this is a time of letting go.
Cupping is the practice of creating a vacuum in glass or plastic cups, creating suction effect on the skin and muscles. The cups can be left stationary or can be moved over the skin’s surface. Cupping feels a lot like a strong deep tissue massage, but isn’t painful. The suction can penetrate up to four inches deep. Most people find cupping relaxing and refreshing.
Last weekend Minneapolis had a heat wave and while everyone else was riding bikes and grilling outside, I was laid up in bed with some very angry sinus pain. Not fun. But that was a week ago, and now this weekend is almost here, and I'm feeling great and ready to get back on the saddle (literally and figuratively).
A few patients this week asked me if I took antibiotics to get over my sinus woes, and were surprised when I told them I didn't. Their next question was always: "How?"
Your thorax is the part of your body between your neck and your abdomen, so your thoracic spine is that mid-to-upper back area around your shoulders. Frequently, people associate back pain with the lumbar or lower spine, but much of those pain problems might actually originate from issues the thoracic spine. Thoracic issues can also lead to shoulder pain, neck stiffness or pain, and a host of other problems throughout the body.
The thoracic area is the central part of the S-curve of your spine, and has the ability to flex, extend and axially rotate. The thoracic region is also the longest portion of your spine, and the only one attached to the rib cage. As you can imagine, the health of your thoracic spine is going to have a huge impact on the other portions of your back. With 12 vertebrae, the Thoracic spine is the most complicated portion of the spine, and therefore a good place to look if you are dealing with bodily pain. There are two major types of thoracic issues I see daily in the gym that can contribute to back pain issues.