A common issue I see, particularly in runners and bike riders, is Iliotibial Band Syndrome or IT Band. The IT band runs from the knee to the hip on the lateral (outside) of the leg. The syndrome is caused by overuse or injury and usually results in pain and inflammation. Patients come to Integrative Health’s Milwaukee/Shorewood clinic saying that their IT band is “really tight.” A treatment I often recommend is called cupping.

Cupping dates back to 3000 BC and involves a process of placing glass, plastic or rubber cups on the skin and removing the air inside to create a suction. With glass cups, the air is removed by heating the cup with a gentle flame from a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. The flaming cotton ball is inserted into the opening of the cup to warm the glass and remove the air from inside. The ball is quickly and completely removed before placing the cup against the skin to create the suction.

The earliest record of cupping is in Ebers Papyrus, one of the world’s oldest medical textbooks, which tells of the Egyptians using cupping in 1550 BC. Archaeologists have found evidence in China of cupping dating back to 1000 BC. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates (c. 400 BC) used cupping for internal disease and structural problems. Eventually this method spread into medical practice throughout Asian and European civilizations.

Unlike common modern day treatments, cupping is drug-free and non-invasive. It is also a needle-less treatment for patients who might be needle-phobic. Benefits can be gained in just one treatment, although more severe or older injuries would likely require additional sessions, or a combination of cupping, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine.

When working with a patient’s IT band, I treat one leg at a time with the patient lying on their side and the thigh in question exposed. After liberally applying massage oil to the skin surface, I use a manual pump to remove air from plastic cups, then strategically place them along the IT band. I start at the hip and end with a cup just above the knee. After all have been placed, I’ll cover the cups with a towel and position a heat lamp to keep the treated area over comfortably warm and relaxed. The cups remain in place for 5-25 minutes, depending on the patient’s constitution, the nature of the injury, and/or the level of pain.

Patients typically feel a slight tightening of the skin in the area where the cups are placed. Physiologically, suction is gently pulling the skin away from the layers of tissue, muscle, and tendons below, resulting in a feeling of relief beneath the surface. This process allows fresh blood to move into the area and creates further healing beyond the treatment time itself.

When removed, the cups typically leave a raised, pinkish-red ring. I will then massage the leg in the direction of the lymph nodes to help facilitate the removal of toxins and old blood. I will often finish up by applying a liniment or essential oils to sooth the area to maintain blood flow.

Patients often feel better after the first treatment. In order to prevent the possibility of any slight aggravation as toxins release from the treated tissue, it’s suggested that a generous amount of water be consumed throughout the day to facilitate the flushing of any toxins from the body.

After the first session, patients can expect an immediate reduction in pain, improved flexibility, and increased mobility. Most patients require 5-10 sessions for full benefit, usually once a week until complete healing is achieved.

In addition to IT band treatments, cupping is very effective for a variety of orthopedic conditions including, but not limited to, rotator cuff injury, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, back pain, bursitis, tendinitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, and frozen shoulder. By removing adhesions, stretching the torsion of the soft tissue, lengthening connective tissue, stimulating nerves and hydrating joints, pain is relieved and healing is facilitated.

Call today or schedule on line! We’d love to help you heal your pain!

Dec 312011

It’s easy! And you can do it anywhere at anytime. With our new online scheduling program, you can now schedule from the website or on Facebook. Look for the Schedule Now button and click. That will open up the page to all the choices you have from Integrative Health Services! Explore the possibilities or schedule your “regular” service from us. Select the service desired, then, if needed, select the practitioner desired. Pick your date and time and you are all set. The program will send you a confirmation email that you have scheduled your appointment as well as sending you an email the day before the appointment.

If you need to cancel an appointment, that’s easy too. We just ask that you give us 24 hours notice so that we may offer that time slot to another patient.

One of the most common questions about acupuncture is: does it hurt? The answer in most cases is no! Usually not at all!!

Why? Because acupuncture needles are 25-50 times thinner than a hypodermic needle. They’re actually so thin that several acupuncture needles could fit inside a typical hypodermic needle. A typical acupuncture needle is so fine that most people feel nothing at all when a practitioner inserts one into the skin. When sensations do occur, they range from a mere tingle to a slight pinch, to mild heat, numbness, or traveling warmth.

Needles usually remain inserted for 20 to 40 minutes. Most people find the experience extremely relaxing and uplifting. Patients often fall asleep during the treatment session.

When treatment requires thicker gauge needles, a mild reaction of some kind is more likely to occur, such as a slight possibility of some soreness during or after a treatment. Let your acupuncturist know immediately whenever any discomfort occurs so he or she can take appropriate action.

If you’re especially sensitive to acupuncture or ‘needle-phobic’ your acupuncturist can use thinner needles and alternative techniques to minimize your concerns and reactions. Be sure to speak up and let your practitioner know how you’re feeling!

As with any patient-practitioner relationship, communication is an important part of the process.

4465 N. Oakland Ave, Suite 200 S    |    Milwaukee    |    414-906-0285    |    meredith@myintegrativehealthservices.com

Facebook Iconfacebook like button