Hey, everyone. What's going on? This is Dr. Chad Kuntz, and welcome back to "Prime Time." I'm stoked for this really three-part series, The Terrific Trio: Cupping, Needling, and Hands on Care. You know, I get so many questions about this. I figured, you know, let's go ahead and sit down and just discuss this during our podcast time so we can be as thorough as we need to. Because, like I said, these questions will continue to arise, especially when I'm practicing, people want to know what they're doing.
And to be honest with you, a little backstory, I've tried a little bit of almost everything throughout my years of practice. For instance, I've tried ultrasound, I've tried E Stim, I've tried the hot towels, the ice, the scraping, the lasers, and just the fancy massage tools. And, however, at the end of the day, I wasn't getting my results to get that long-term relief that they were looking for. They might have felt some relief, and they might have felt like things were helping.
But for me, it's really important that not only can we help that person experience no pain, how can we get that carry over in between appointments that tends to be a barrier sometimes for practitioners. I know that I've certainly ran through it, having a really hard time helping someone to continue to feel good in between appointments, and not only that, six months, nine months, a year, multiple years, to the point that they can continue to feel good. And really, there's a lot of things that go into that, you know, the awareness, their exercises that they're doing, a lot of things.
But from a hands-on perspective, I want to make sure that the modalities and the tools that I was doing during our quality time together was being incredibly useful. And just kind of preface, you know, and part of this three-part series, you know, these tools aren't technically for everyone. I think some of the greatest expression of art here is knowing who is a good candidate, how hard you want to apply it, how fast you apply it, as well as how often. It's kind of like an artist who's playing with the same tool like a paintbrush. You give several artists a paintbrush and you give them different colors. They can make something completely different out of those same tools.
And that's kind of the way I look at the tools that we're using here in terms of cupping, needling, and really the hands-on care. And I think there's so much content here. We're going to split this up today, we're going to just start to diving right into cupping, a little bit of the history and how I like to use it. And then next time, we'll get right into the dry needling, which will be fun.
So guys, cupping really goes back to 1500 BC. It was actually kind of claimed as a pseudoscience. Hippocrates was actually one to use that. I want to say that was around 400 BC.
And, you know, it just tells us that this thought process has been along with the humans for a long time. Traditionally, what is performed, it is static. So, in fact, I'm sure a lot of you remember Michael Phelps, when he was up on stage at the Olympics, he had those kind of circular bruises, you know. You could kind of see the bruises, you could see where they had applied the cupping. Now again, that's pretty traditional.
My typical style is very dynamic. Mine definitely is very unorthodox. It's unconventional. I would call mine more dynamic cupping because I like to move the cup with movement. And they're all different type of styles with cupping and especially in the dynamic set. You know, it's not just leaving it there and, "Hey, I'll be back for 20 minutes and come on back." That's the traditional style and that's where it's got more of pseudoscience.
I can tell you right now, I've had some incredible success with moving it around. And for me, it starts with interpreting the feeling with my hands, feeling the quality of tissue, discussing with the client, "How is that feeling?" Moving them around, making it tolerable. But we do know that there's going to be some form of discomfort there just because we're trying to make a mechanical change.
So what does dynamic cupping actually do for us? So I think a couple take on points here is that it absolutely helps improve blood flow, it can be great for swelling. I've definitely noted that.
One actually interesting area that's really helpful for swelling that I found is actually the inside the ankle, near the tibial posterior tendons. So as the...everyone knows where their inner ankle bone is, the medial malleoli, kind of just above that on the inside of your inner shin. And people can get swelling there. So if you've had like calf pain or ankle pain, that seems to be really helpful particularly for that area. But also, I'll get into a little bit later other areas, but I will also say swelling in the shoulder, that the cupping can be really helpful to open that up.
So it's great for some forms of lymphatic drainage, I think it's great for the immune system to kind of be more aware of what's going on there. Like if you're in pain, sometimes I use analogy your body puts up yellow tape around that area that says, "Don't go there." The cupping draws attention to the area. Kind of cuts the yellow tape and says, "Guys, we've got some work to do. Come back over here, I'll start cleaning it up." It's almost like your body didn't know what to do with that area because it was in pain, and therefore is in fear. So it can actually be great in the terms of creating attention towards areas that need adjustment.
It also is really great for adhesions, old scar tissue. So if you've had a surgery in your low back, or your knee, or your hip, and you've had that scar for 20 years, and no one's ever really worked on it, I wouldn't want to use that cup on that area. I would want to loosen it up. And yes, it may be uncomfortable. But what's honestly cool is, a lot of times, as I start to get in there, they're like, "Oh my God, that's my total knee joint pain." Or, "That's the ACL pain that I felt 20 years ago." And I'll be like, "Well, the reality is I'm just on your scar tissue. I'm actually on the portal where the surgery went in."
That's what we call the portal on those little scars that are present, those can hold a lot of pain. And sometimes they're the pain that you thought that was your, whatever, meniscus recovering or your labor, I mean, your rotator cuff recovering. But in fact, that can be a portal hidden in that scar tissue. So it takes some work to get in there.
And cupping is really nice because it helps you cover a lot of area. So one big area that I like to think of would be the lats. So these huge muscles that it connects to your shoulder, actually go all the way down into your, you know, thoracolumbar fascia on your low back. And so cupping can be great because it covers a lot of areas.
And not only does it kind of cover a lot of areas, they can actually help me detect what's going on. So I can literally feel kind of road bumps as I'm going through it or moguls and hills as I'm going through poor tissue quality.
And this might freak you out. But sometimes I can literally hear the tissue. There's like kind of a grinding and a grading effect. And it might feel like you're pinching, burning or a pulling sensation. But really what's happening is that you're just opening it up, creating more blood flow, and you're addressing mechanical malformations with your cupping as you open it up. And there are multiple layers to integumentary system, we're really trying to get down to the deeper layers where you actually have the wrinkles and the malformation on the tissue. So it does take some force to get down to that low of a layer rather than just superficial.
So I find myself quite aggressive, at least we'll work up into it so we can get into the deeper layers so that we can have more of that profound, long-lasting benefit. Sometimes people are quite sensitive early on. So we might have to just kind of work our way up into that for a few sessions. But we're working our way up into that so we can get into the deeper layers.
Something else just really cool about the tissue response is that the color and what it presents with after I do the cupping is actually indicative of the quality of the tissue. So let me just expound on that.
So if you have poorly acute light tissue. So if you've had a recent trauma or an injury, you'll actually yield higher histamine reactions. Most people know what histamines are, right? You can even get those with allergies at really the microbiological level, and your tissue can host that as well. So if I utilize cupping, let's say your forearm, and you've had a recent injury to that, your forearm will reflect a lot brighter, broken blood vessels opposed to healthy tissue. And that provides me some information.
In fact, the first time we do that, you might have significantly redness. So a lot of redness in that. And then it'll actually transform into a bruising and that might last 7 or 10 days. But as we go back into that and we keep working on it, and we keep working on it, you're going to notice that the redness starts to settle down. It becomes less red, becomes a little quieter, it becomes a little more focal as to the epicenter of your pain, right? So it also gives us some more information that way.
And as we keep working and working on it, hopefully, at the end of the day, which could be your plan of care, it's 12 weeks, we're working on it, what have you, all of a sudden, we just glide right over it, it doesn't leave any histamine response. Chances are, very strong chances, that you're feeling pain free at that point because you don't have that response.
Now conversely, on the chronic level, what's really interesting about what I find, like let's say it's the pec, you've had a tight pec and you've had shoulder pain for forever, and maybe even neck pain. Let's say I really like cup the pec. The first time I cup that, if it's been a chronic problem, you'll find like these smaller, circular purple nodules, like circular nodules. And just anecdotally speaking, okay, I really haven't done, all the ins and outs physiologically, but just anecdotally, I can relate that to chronic types of pain. It just feels like the blood is deoxygenated, it's just sitting in there, it's just gunky. And so you'll actually respond with those deep, darker purple nodules that will be the first few times that we start to work on it. It is linearly associated with pain when you have that.
So it'll be a little bit more uncomfortable when you first do it. You'll have more of those dark purple nodules. And they actually too will get better as we start to improve the tissue quality. And chances are, you're feeling a lot better at that point too.
Again, it's just fascinating to me that the healthy tissue will leave no markings at all. And that's usually when I'm looking at you and you go, "Yep, it feels good. We're at the same intensity as we were last time." And that's when people start to feel amazing.
There are different layers of intensity that I'll use with the cupping. I might start pretty soft, like I just call it level one. And I kind of just go up to grades of five-tiered system. Five would be the most that I can move. And that's where we're really getting into, again, the deeper, deeper layers.
So just kind of finishing up guys, if you've tried typical massage, you might have even tried traditional cupping or rolfing or just deep tissue massage or stone massage. Really any other type of hands on care that's out there or some forms of stretching and you're still having pain, cupping can be incredibly powerful. It can be incredibly powerful under the right circumstances with the right artist. Not all cupping is created the same.
So when people, if they were to come in and say, "Well, I've already tried cupping," I'm going to respect the fact that you said that, but I am not going to discount what my services could offer you because I know my experience and how all cupping is not created equal. The way you set up a client as you start to work into it, can be really powerful, right? So if I'm working on the inside your shoulder blades, because you're having pain down there, I'm not going to just only lay you on your stomach and work on that. Like, I might get you laying on your side, I might get you reaching with your arm, trying to get that shoulder blade to elevate and try to disconnect and dissociate from the spine to open that area up.
And that's where we can kind of uncover some crevices, some hidden gems, some gold mines that you wouldn't have otherwise found. In the glutes, which actually have been associated with forms a low back pain or hip pain, I will put your glute on stretch. I will have you pull, grab your hand onto your knee, pull the glute, open it up, while I'm doing cupping with you. There is a linear increase in somewhat of the discomfort when we do this. But it's because we're finally getting to the areas that have been needing to get uncovered for the longest period of time. So I would say common areas would be the pecs, the lats, on the shoulder blades, the neck, or the thigh.
So again, just to kind of cover that, if you've had shoulder pain, the pecs and the lats can be profound to help out with your shoulder pain, especially if you find yourself limited like reaching behind yourself. Like, if you're in the car, reach for the backseat or even just in your workouts you notice that you're generalizing more limit in your motion, that can be incredibly important. And then with shoulder pain, if you have pain like in the upper middle back inside the shoulder blades that can be a fantastic area for cupping as well.
Those who have tightness in the neck, the scalenes and the muscles on the side of your neck and the upper traps are a wonderful area. They do leave bruising, so around the neck, make sure you're not going out to a nice big dance or something like that if I'm cupping you because it will leave what looks like, I joke with my clients, hickey marks. So that's like somewhat of a limiting factor, right, because people don't always want to be walking around with hickey marks on their neck. But hey, if we can do it, it's been incredibly helpful because there's a lot of nerves around in that area and actually opening up the neural pathway through the muscles can help provide some immediate relief.
And the thigh is wonderful, especially right where the hip creases, where your hip flexors are. I'll put you on stretch first and then I'll do some strumming with that cupping. And again, that can be a tender area, but, man, that can really provide some really quick relief for hip pain or even back pain.
And just to kind of finish up because I know we've talked about a lot today, kind of a really cool take on point with the cupping is that it can provide relief like that. Not all tools that I have can provide relief that quickly. But under the right circumstances, with the right artist, with the right paintbrush, so to speak, you can find relief almost immediately.
Now, chances are we're gonna have to continue to work on the underlying root cause, we have to start adjusting your movement, start to adjust how you're sitting at work, walking, standing, but to feel that immediate relief and know that we changed it just like that is profound. And then I love seeing my clients' eyes, they light up and they say, "Holy cow. I feel so much looser, I feel lighter. That thing used to feel heavy." And that's kind of what you can expect under the impression of dynamic cupping. So everyone knows a lot.
If you have any additional questions like, "Is this the right thing for me?" You send a couple things that may have made sense, feel free to email me. Let's carry on the conversation. So shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And let's see if that's something that would be the right fit for you. Again, we're located in the Charlotte area. Feel free to reach out to us. And as always, thank you for tuning in to "Prime Time."