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Healthy Living: How acupuncture, cupping go hand in hand to heal the body

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 8:45 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - When it comes to health and wellness, there are many options that lead to complete relaxation. And in this week’s Healthy Living, two unique practices are highlighted that may not appear relaxing, but clearly do the trick — acupuncture and cupping.

Kristen Wood, a licensed acupuncturist at Snow Blossom Acupuncture Wellness & Float Center, explains the process behind each and why she’s passionate about both.

She and her husband, Seth Wood, have been in business for 11 years. Their focus is on east Asian alternative medicine techniques, which acupuncture and cupping both falls under.

“Acupuncture needles are so tiny. They’re like a hair to put together literally much smaller than a hypodermic needle,” Kristen Wood said. “They’re also solid. They’re filiform stainless steel needles. They’re not, we’re not injecting fluids or taking fluids out like you’re getting like a vaccine or a shot or something like that.”

She explained there are more than 400 acupuncture points all over the body, and each is associated with a different organ. When working on a patient, they don’t tap into the nerves, but the needles affect the nervous system.

“We can help to bring you down out or out of that fight or flight state to help create that homeostasis,” she said.

It also helps bring down pain and inflammation, which creates more circulation and quickens the healing process.

Kristen Wood went on to explain the process of cupping before demonstrating it on a patient.

“I’m going to light a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. I’m going to light it on fire and I’m going to stick it in a cup and take it out. It’s a super quick motion,” she said. “The patient will feel a little bit warmth and then you’re going to feel a suction.”

Stationary cupping means it stays in one spot and is moved around every couple of minutes. Moving cupping uses involve massage oil, creating a vacuum-like suction.

“So when we’re cupping, we’re actually pulling up,” she said. “It’s different from a massage where it’s more pressing and it’s everything coming up into like the blood level, it’s not a bruise and it will kind of fade like a bruise but it’s not going to hurt like a bruise.”

Cupping is nothing like acupuncture, but they are said to be compatible practices when done together.

Kristen Wood said the two practices aren’t for everyone, but for those they do treat, a prick here and a suction there has made a difference for them.

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