© OLD SAGE HANDS

What is Cupping?

In Body Fantastic on September 16, 2018 at 2:04 pm

A Cup Above

By now, most people have heard about acupuncture. If you haven’t, it’s an alternative treatment practised in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), whereby thin needles (more like very small pins) are inserted into the body at specific meridians of the body to treat various conditions. For those of you with needle phobia, these are not the traditional needles they use at the doctor’s office to take your blood. For many physiotherapists and people who treat sports injuries, acupuncture has become somewhat mainstream as it has been known to help ease arthritis as well as joint pain.

A few decades ago, I injured my lower back in a slip-and-fall accident, and every now and again my back decides to seize up. While normal rest and some exercises helped my back, it was the debilitating pain of migraines that finally drove me to discover acupuncture. If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know what I’m talking about. Fortunately, many family members recommended a physiotherapist who I was more than happy to meet, and over the years she has relieved my back pain and aging body aches with a combination of acupuncture and physio. Since her office is on the other side of town, when a local TCM clinic opened within walking distance from my home and a colleague highly recommended one of the doctors, I decided to give it a try. Once there, I discovered their TCM acupuncture methods were more effective than the physio.

Fast forward, a year later and my back and neck were clenched – I need acupuncture badly. My TCM doctor assessed the situation as I laid face down and agreed. “I think you need cupping today to loosen your tight muscles…” she says. I’d heard of the practice but had never had the procedure done before – since I’m already in pain I think, how bad can it be? “OK…” I say.

No Pain, No Gain

Within a few moments, I hear the clinking of glass containers on a cart rattle in. The flick of a lighter is followed by a puff of incense-scented smoke and suddenly I feel a cold circle of suction on my back. As I endure the first few cups with only mild discomfort,   I think to myself, “This isn’t so bad.” But as she gets to my lower back and attaches the next two cups, I gasp out loud to which she responds, “if you can manage the pain, it is better if you try and hang on…”

FullSizeRenderWincing, my mind now conjures visions of booster cables pinching off nerve endings. “Remember why you went in the first place,” I try and tell myself. If you’ve endured crushing migraine or screaming lower back pain, then you can easily breathe through a few moments of this stinging. Memories of childbirth drift back into my thoughts although this time, it feels like I’ve got 20 pounds of glass pressing down on my back.

Mercifully, the time passes quickly. As the suction cups are removed they release a whoosh of air, and I simultaneously experience a sign of relief! That night, I fall into a deep sleep and am drenched in sweat when I awake feeling light and nimble, able-bodied and healed! And those angry red lesions that cover my back and worry my family gradually subside over the next few days.

If the Coat Fits

In Animal Kingdom, Ivy (Dog) Approved on August 22, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Sometimes we have a hard time letting go. When our beloved dog, Shelby, passed away nine years ago we were devastated. We couldn’t bear the thought of getting rid of any of her stuff. What stuff, you ask? Dogs these days seem to have more things than some people. Pet parents know what I’m talking about: the designer bed, clothes, toys, and accessories. Some animals certainly live charmed lives. If only it was the case for everyone.

It took a long time before we could even entertain the thought of getting another dog but if you’re a regular reader know we recently took the plunge and are now knee-deep in our life of puppy parenthood. Rather than go out and get a fancy, brand-new raincoat for our sweet Ivy, I rummaged through Shelby’s basket and pulled out her old raincoat.

IvyrainWhile it might be pouring buckets outside, we were still able to go out for a walk and keep relatively dry. Sure, it’s a bit big – but Ivy may grow into it yet. This old raincoat always made me smile. Despite the foul weather, adults and children alike would always stop and say hello whenever they saw Shelby wearing it. It was a little bit of sunshine on a dreary day.

With Ivy, it’s no different – she somehow manages to charm all who meet her. We’ll see how long the raincoat lasts with this rambunctious one – whether she outgrows it or wears it to bits. Sometimes an old coat is better than a new one – especially one filled with warm, loving memories. If the raincoat fits, wear it. Wear it proudly.


Time Warp

In Food For Thought on August 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm

After the long weekend, my watch broke down. Not sure if the battery went or the mechanism died but it was a cheap watch and deemed not worth fixing.

Turns out none of my spare watches were working either… dead battery or some other unknown issue. So here I had to face the week without a timepiece. At first, it seemed awkward – I’d catch myself looking at my naked wrist with no watch to keep time. For someone who prides themselves on being prompt – I felt lost. As the days passed, it was strangely liberating… I was freed from the prison of time.

For those modern types, who are always tethered to a phone or computer, there’s a clear and prominently featured record of the time marking your every minute or second depending upon the chosen display. My need to know the correct time was easily filled by these ever-present digital reminders.

clockfaceIn a throwback to a civilized age, I must confess that I had already made it a habit not to wear a watch at all. Mind you, this was only the case on weekends and other social occasions, where one doesn’t want to be rudely glancing at the time throughout the day. In fact, I find it’s quite a luxury to be able to simply have the freedom to enjoy passing the time. Try it sometime and break free. Liberate yourself and leave the schedule behind. At this rate, I may never get another watch. Ah, to be a lady of leisure…


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