Muscles, tendons and ligaments: What are they?

Everyone knows what they are, right? Wrong!

Most people are familiar with muscles and why they exist. But tendons and ligaments too? Generally not. Many have a vague idea of what both are and maybe even where one could locate them. But their knowledge of the two highly necessary anatomical structures is a shaky terrain at best. Therefore, the aim of this post is to strengthen the foundations of our reader’s anatomy-related mental database and build a vault of valuable – and relative – information upon it.

To start off with the easiest, commonly known structure first, muscles connect bones to each other. Sometimes only two bones are attached to a single muscle, such as scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus (upper arm bone) which are both connected on either end of the teres major muscle. Some muscles have multiple attachment points on different bones. An example of this can be found in the trapezius muscle, located on the back. This muscle joins the cranium (skull) and thoracic vertebrae (the spinal discs in the middle of the back) to the clavicle (collar bone) and scapula (shoulder blade). As mentioned in an earlier blog post, muscles have two main roles in the overall function of the body. The first is to enable movement and the second is to stabilise certain structures within its frame.

For more information about muscles in general, have a look at our previous post: Hijama and the Muscular System

trapezius.jpg1
The trapezius muscle is so big, it is often divided into three sections: upper, middle and lower (1)

Closer to the muscular system than one might initially think, tendons connect the ends of a muscle to a specific bone. In information booklets and health-related encyclopedias, they are usually white in colour and easily differentiated from the main body of a muscle. Tendons are made up of layers of strong connective tissue that run through the length of the muscle, allowing them to withstand the great amounts of force exerted upon them by bodily movements. Thus, bigger muscles tend to have thicker and sometimes longer tendons than smaller ones. One of the most well known tendons is the Achilles Tendon, which connects the soleus and gastrocnemius (calf muscles) to the calcaneus (heel bone). Not only are they capable of resisting the force of a contracting muscle, tendons relay that same force to the bone that they are attached to, resulting in movement of the body.

tendon
Aaaah, the infamous Achilles heel. I wonder if the person who linked it to weakness knew how much pressure tendons can withstand (2)

Though they may be comprised of fibrous connective tissues similar to those that form tendons, ligaments connect one bone to another. However, unlike muscles, ligaments are normally located where two bones meet to form a joint and exist to stabilise both. Due to its sturdy form, limbs are able to move in a free yet controlled manner. Whilst muscles propel them into action, ligaments prevent the limbs from moving in a way that could possibly cause severe damage to the body. Some of the most commonly injured ligaments include both the collateral and cruciate ligaments located within and on either side of the patellofemoral (knee) joint as well as those found around the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint. Once stretched or torn, ligaments are usually only fixed via surgery and sometimes even that cannot restore it’s former function.

Anterior view of knee joint comparing normal vs. damaged cartilage
The white thing labelled ACL is a ligament. The two non-transparent​ bands on either side of the knee cap are ligaments too (3)

To summarise it in a single paragraph, muscles, tendons and ligaments all play a part in keeping certain skeletal structures in a neutral position. Tendons and ligaments are made of the same kind of connective tissue and are both hard to tear. Once damaged, they can be hard and usually impossible to repair completely​. Muscles and tendons are closely interlinked and work together to facilitate bodily movement whereas ligaments are there to prevent an individual’s limbs from moving in harmful ways.

We hope that this information has benefited you, our dear readers, and we would love to hear from you. Comments, questions and weekly topic suggestions are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading!

The Pure Therapy Team

Images referenced from:
(1) nicktumminello.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/trapezius.jpg1.png
(2) differentialdiagnosislowerleg.weebly.com/uploads/5/4/7/6/54764553/8097310.jpg?382
(3) https://api.kramesstaywell.com/Content/ebd5aa86-5c85-4a95-a92a-a524015ce556/medical-illustrations/Images/amuscsk20140311v1001

How do you manage cold hands?

Somehow, this week’s story time post ended up being linked to leafleting. Again. It’s almost like I don’t do anything else with my time. Maybe its because most worthwhile stories take place beyond the four walls of our comfort zone. And if I’m not working or studying in clinic, work hours are usually spent promoting our services to the general public. Hence the common factor: leafleting. Though a case of significant sunburn may have been the problem last time, today I’m going to relay how I was struck with a completely opposite issue this time around; the cold!

Before I start on the weather, I’d just like to point out that distributing leaflets in person is waaaay more intense than shoving slipping them through letter boxes. Obviously, when handing them out to those passing by, one is bound to encounter many more eyeballs and end up interacting with people rather than suspicious felines and guard dogs. Despite the lack of stairs strenuous activity and the relatively close rest room facilities, I think I might prefer door-to-door leafleting over doing so face-to-face. This preference could be related to impatience or introversion. Knowing me, it’s probably both.

IMG_20170420_142321492_HDR
For those who may be wondering, the partially visible word close to the top of the leaflet is pain.

Standing in our mutually decided locations, me and the Giant – yes, he was with me again – were exposed to all sorts of people. From students alighting at the nearest bus-stop to local business employees whose faces would soon become all too familiar. From shoppers laden with bags and those casually breezing through the area to mothers walking with buggies and little old ladies pushing quaint little trolleys. We had an equally wide range of reactions to our leaflets – or perhaps to our distribution techniques – that seemed to switch between interested, potential patients and those who cheerfully but politely rejected our leaflets to pedestrians who grudgingly accepted them or else stared sideways at me as though I had insulted their existence simply by smiling at them. I had one fellow avoid my extended leaflet as though touching it would give him the plague! I wonder what that was about? Perhaps he suffered from mysophobia. I think that’s how it’s spelt? Hmm …

So we stood on either side of the road, not quite opposite each other, to inflict our leaflets on as many unsuspecting people as possible. It was a sunny but slightly chilly day – typical British weather – before the sun had reached its highest point in the vaguely grey sky. Meaning that it was in a perfect position to cast a shadow on one side of the road even as it illuminated the other. That plus my lack of road choosing skill dictated which side I ended up working on. If you’ve read the post about my last leafleting adventure, it might be easy to guess which one. In the shade, on a cold UK day, I waited for people to pass by so that I could offer them the chance to relieve their individual pains.

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It might be physically harder but door to door leafleting seems to have less of a psychological impact. In my humble opinion.

Though I should have expected it, after being in the same spot for hours, I was surprised when I shifted the bunch of firm rectangular papers to my left hand and found the fingers of my right stiff and distantly painful. Unlike those belonging to my other hand, which had been kept busy arranging leaflets into sets of five – so that it was easier to track how many I had distributed – the fingers of my right hand had remained in a fixed position. When I tried to bend them, it was as though they were moving in slow motion. Suddenly, I had an idea of the suffering that my arthritic patients endured daily, though I’m sure that my pain was nothing in comparison to theirs.

To remedy the state of my dysfunctional fingers, I wriggled them around, opening and closing them continuously in the hope that doing so would restore the flow of blood to each one. As you can probably imagine, there’s only so much of that you can do in the middle of a bustling street without seriously scaring off future patients. I also tried to hold my outstretched hands beneath the shafts of sunlight surrounding the patch of shade I was standing in, when there were less people around to walk into them. Again, the duration of such behaviour – and its mild effect on my flesh – was limited for obvious reasons. Though there are many places allocated for praying, footpaths are generally not considered one of them. In short, I froze until we returned to the clinic.

IMG_20170427_140902987_BURST000_COVER_TOP
Yes. Those are rain drops. Good thing our leaflets are made of tougher stuff, eh?

All of which has lead me to ask: How do you deal with hands stiffened by the cold or by being inactive? Do you have any issues with your blood circulation? What would you have done in my place? I’d honestly love to know. I mean, one can never predict when this kind of information could come in handy, right? Something I had to learn the hard way, it seems :-p. If you have any tips, please leave them in the comments and maybe save a life. Or – to be less dramatic – a hand, at the very least.

Don’t forget to like this post for more stories, follow me if you want to keep up to date with the rest of my blog content and share this link so that others can benefit – or just have a quiet laugh – the same way that you just did. Thanks for reading!

With Introverted Interest

SB

Was Hijama (cupping) a British tradition?

Greetings, dear readers

Though the title alone may prompt raised brows, negative answers or simply confused expression, one may be inclined to agree that such a question is intriguing. Or, rather, that the answer itself would hold one’s attention. Many believe that the practice of Hijama or cupping came from the Chinese. Some may be aware that it was discovered by those studying Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. A surprising number of people may claim that there is no way Hijama could be a British tradition and may not realise that the first two statements do not negate the last. Believe it or not, it has been historically proven that denizens of Great Britain practised the art of cupping. In fact, it was a necessary and highly utilized skill for many doctors. But if that is true, why is Hijama no longer performed by common doctors? In brief, it was knocked aside by modern medicine. How did that happen exactly? Yet another potentially intriguing answer.

cuppingset
These were sometimes called blood-letting boxes. Because that’s not creepy at all (1)

From countries such as China, Egypt and Greece, cupping therapy slowly spread across Europe, varying in technique and occasionally – often incorrectly – identified as blood-letting or artificial leeching. Many researchers may agree that the gradually refined therapy was introduced into Britain during the early 1800s, where it became a common form of treatment for various illnesses and chronic health conditions. As mentioned in an earlier post, two famous Greek physicians, Hippocrates and Galen, regularly used it to treat their patients. Though their understanding of its physiology and effects upon the body may have altered over time, those that practised Hijama in England would probably have based their practice on the teachings of both men. British cupper, Samuel Bayfield, was a firm believer in its physical benefits. In the introduction of his book, A Treatise on Practical Cupping (1823), he wrote:

“Cupping is an art, the value of which, every one can appreciate who has had opportunities of being made acquainted with its curative power by observing its effects on the person of others, or by realising them in his own.”

He later alluded to Hippocrates expertise on the subject, mentioning him on pages 51 – 52 of the same book:

“Hippocrates was a minute observer, and has left us some striking remarks on the shape and application of cup. He recommends that they should be small in diameter, conical in shape, and light in their weight, even when the disease for which they are applied is deeply seated.”

Despite its efficiency, cupping was criticised as a form of treatment by members of the medical fraternity during the latter half of the 19th century. Many believe that they used the scientific model of medicine to discredit a number of previously established traditional therapies – not just cupping – in order to gain medical dominance. It was also around this time that the French philosopher and historian, Michel Foucault (1976), developed his ‘clinical gaze’ theory. According to him, the human body was to be viewed as something transparent and treated from the inside rather than the outside. It seemed as though he believed Hijama to be a superficial treatment that had no effect on the inner workings of the human body. Due to the aforementioned reasons, researchers believe that doctors, and other health professionals of the Anglo-Saxon society, moved away from hands-on therapies because they did not fit in with the interests of the authoritative medical fraternity, not because the practice itself was ineffective.

bcs_logo
The fact that this even exists should have told us something (2)

However, cupping therapy has experienced a undeniable resurgence in modern times. This may be the result of medicine no longer being considered satisfactory as a form of treatment, coupled with an awareness of the detrimental side effects of medication on long term health. A considerable amount of people now turn away from conventional medicine and seek relief from alternative therapies, as though they have started to think along the same lines as the surgeon, Charles Kennedy (1826), who wrote:

“The art of cupping has been so well-known, and the benefits arising from it so long experienced, that it is quite unnecessary to bring forward testimonials in favor of what has received not only the approbation of modern times, but also the sanction of remotest antiquity.”

We hope that this information has benefitted you, our dear readers, and we would love to hear from you. Comments, questions and weekly topic suggestions are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading!

The Pure Therapy Team

Images referenced from:
(1) http://www.thegarret.org.uk/images/surgical/cuppingset.jpg
(2) http://www.britishcuppingsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/bcs_logo.png
Quotes referenced from:
A Treatise on Practical Cupping – https://wellcomelibrary.org/item/b21305419#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&z=0.1405%2C0.7204%2C0.5208%2C0.2855
Traditional Chinese Medicine Cupping Therapy – https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=guDTBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=samuel+bayfield+cupping&source=bl&ots=fe24oHNRZH&sig=WuDZeSptAIYUnghwObW-e87SFTo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwijya2CltnTAhUkB8AKHSryBisQ6AEIPTAD#v=onepage&q&f=false

Why is ginger good for us?

Greetings, dear readers

Most of us may be familiar with the knobbly, hard-to-identify-type of food stashed somewhere in our kitchen. We may recognise it better as the scent that usually comes from the tea brewed by our grandmothers, taken to lower their chronic high blood pressure. As far as traditional remedies go, the health benefits of ginger are generally as well known as those linked to the use of garlic and cloves, both of which can be used to treat pain and infection. As it is with most natural treatments, ginger needs to be consumed consistently in order for one to reap all of the benefits that it has to offer. But what is it about ginger that makes it so potent?

ginger
Just in case you were wondering what it looked like as an actual plant (1)

Ginger comes from a flowering plant that originated in China but is also produced in other countries such as India, Jamaica, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia. The ginger plant belongs to a botanical family known as zingiberaceae, meaning it is related to spices such as tumeric, galangal and cardamoms. The spice itself is created from rhizome or ginger root, which is the part of the stem that remains underground until it is unearthed. In the past, ginger has been used to aid digestion, ease nausea and combat both common colds and the flu. The root can be ingested in a number of ways, such as:

  • In fresh slices

  • Dried out pieces

  • Ground into powder

  • Mixed into an oil

  • In the form of a juice

  • Brewed as a tea.

Ginger is consists of a number of healthy components. However, its main ingredient has been identified as gingerol. Gingerol is a bioactive compound with strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxident effects. In addition to it, ginger contains other substances such as beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate, all of which play a role in the treatment of certain symptoms. Due to this, ginger has often been used as a slow but effective remedy for various infections, such as a toothache or inflamed skin , and congestion, such as a chest cold or blocked nasal passages.

ginger2
It would be too easy to mix them up if you weren’t paying attention (2)

Similarly to medicines, though perhaps not in as strict a way, the amount of ginger used per treatment differs depending on its duration, the severity of the illness and the body’s ability to ward off any unwanted side effects. To ease many kinds of nausea, especially sea sickness, mornings sickness and nausea resulting from chemotherapy or surgery, 1 – 1.5 grams of ginger may need to be ingested. Taking 2 grams of ginger a day, during a set period of time, has been known to reduce muscle pain and the soreness caused by exercise. It can also reduce some of the debilitating symptoms of osteoarthritis, such as significant joint pain and stiffness.

gingerstuff
The many ways that ginger can be presented (3)

Ginger is commonly used as a remedy for various problems concerning the digestive tract, for example dyspepsia (chronic indigestion), colic (trapped wind in the abdomen), diarrhoea, IBS (irritable bowl syndrome), loss of appetite and other conditions caused by gastrointestinal irritation. Taking capsules of powdered ginger has proven to be a highly effective way of reducing dysmenorrhea (severe menstrual pain). Studies have also shown that drinking ginger tea can decrease cholesterol levels and lower high blood pressure by naturally thinning the blood.

We hope that this information has benefitted you, our dear readers, and we would love to hear from you. Comments, questions and weekly topic suggestions are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading!

The Pure Therapy Team

Images referenced from:
(1) tnnfreshfood.com/media/k2/items/cache/ffee2447b152494b43d9816faaea83c8_XL.jpg
(2) http://www.natinspicygarden.com/img/plants/zingiberaceae/curcuma_ginger_galanga.jpg
(3) http://www.organicherbpowder.com/Content/ue/net/upload1/Other/91117/6361508661825289872601771.jpg

How do you deal with sunburn?

So far, we’ve covered many different health topics and addressed multiple issues related to Hijama (cupping) therapy. Of course, my dear readers, that won’t change and we’ll continue to do so until … well … until we’re required to do otherwise. However, we’re going to add another flavour to our content and spice up the mix. Now it’s story time by yours truly.

So I went leafleting the other day for the first time in my life. I wholly expected to encounter dogs on the opposite side of front doors and shove leaflets through letter boxes. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Is it sad to admit that I found approaching strange buildings to promote our business mildly exciting? Regardless, I’ll admit it freely.

In addition to this, I was followed by a surprising number of friendly cats and stared at suspiciously by others from wall tops and behind fences. The unexpected events that followed were less than pleasant surprises. Firstly, the roads that we covered were not always straight, neat rows of houses. And by we, I mean myself and my leafleting partner, whom I’m going to refer to as the Giant. Some (it felt like most) of the houses were uphill, down steps or tucked away in unexpected places. Some of the houses that we visited made me feel like I was about to step into Narnia. Others had the atmosphere of an undiscovered crime scene. Refer back to the previous paragraph where I confessed to a vague sense of excitement.

IMG_20170414_180114694
That was the clearest screenshot I could get …

Secondly, we climbed enough stairs to make Kung Fu Panda feel like an amateur. There was one particular road, now burnt into my memory for the rest of my life, that had a flight of stairs leading up to every single house on one side of the road. And by stairs, I don’t mean just two or three steps. No, no, no. Each house had about seven, eight, sometimes even nine steps paving the way to the letter box that I was duty bound to visit. The other side appeared to have the same design, only the steps went down instead of up. Guess which side of the road I ended up leafleting on?

panda stairs.png
There. Were. So. Many. Steps. I. Thought. I. Was. Going. To. Die

And lastly, we were out there leafleting for five hours instead of three. On the plus side, it meant we hit approximately 1200 houses, judging by the number of leaflets we had left over. It also meant that we were beneath an over-enthusiastic sun at its zenith amidst mercilessly blue skies. The only thing that stopped us from getting heatstroke, I believe, was the desperately needed Spring breeze that swept over us from time to time and kept us somewhat cooler than we would have been.

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This was how it looked towards the evening. Mere shreds of cloud against the glare

It should come as no surprise that I got sunburnt. Already being someone with a vampiric reaction to sunlight and heat in general, under the aforementioned conditions I did not stand a chance. I came home that evening with an even redder and puffier face than usual. The aloe vera gel that I had applied to my skin before going out must have been worn away by the aggressive UV rays and the burns were as itchy as they were rosy in colour. After treating my face with another application of aloe vera gel (which prompted more itching as the plant reacted to my sore skin), I decided that the only thing left to do was to drink lots of water and then sleep it away. Honestly speaking, I tend to up my daily hydration and rest properly rather than take medication when dealing with most problems, both health and stress related. I’ve found out that, most of the time, it does the job like a workaholic.

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My life saver. Within reason. Obviously.

Suffering as I have under sunlight has made me wonder how other people deal with sunburn. Does everyone experience itching after their skin has been burnt? Do people get sunburnt as soon as they step into sun rays or does it vary depending on their exposure to it? There are lots of creams and lotions available to protect yourself from scary UV rays but how do you treat yourself after getting sunburnt? For both scientific and curiosity-satisfying purposes, I’d love to hear about your unrequited love story with the sun.

As popular YouTubers often like to say at the end of their videos, please subscribe (or, in this case, follow) me on WordPress. Making an account is easy, quick and, best of all, free 😀 You know what’s even better? You don’t even have to make one to like this post, leave a comment and share it with everyone else you know. Bloggers are writers. And all of us writers are greedy for feedback.

As always, thank you for reading! It means more than you know.

With Introverted Interest

SB

 

 

 

 

What is fascia?

Greetings, dear readers

The topic may be heavily debated amongst scientists and other health professionals, particularly manual therapists. However, very few of them could deny the existence of fascia, a fundamental and complex system in both human and non-human bodies. Healthy fascia allows optimal athletic output, sustains posture and can improve the efficiency of other systems in the body. Likewise, when it stops functioning properly, it can have an equally significant effects, such as restricted movement, disruptive body pain and reduction of a person’s quality of life. But what is it about fascia that makes all of the above reactions possible?

As mentioned before in previous posts, fascia is a connective tissue often linked to the formation of scars and mysofascial adhesions. However, there is a lot more to its existence than just strengthening the tissues. Fascia is as much a system of the body as the cardiovascular system, with a similarly extensive reach throughout the cells, running below the skin at various depths and between different layers of the body. Comprised of sheets of biological fabric, it has been described by some health professionals as a net-like structure that holds the body together. It is responsible for containing bodily fluids, such as the water that each person is made up of, by organising it into cellular structures.

faciameme
Need we say any more? (1)

When examined during a dissection or through the lens of a microscope, fascia seems like a web which encapsulates the aforementioned structures and binds them together, forming soft tissue. Not only does it connect a variety of tissues to each other, fascia runs through bones and cartilage and encases muscles and muscle segments, rather than travelling around them. Some researchers believe that bones float in this web of fascia and muscle tissues via a structural principle known as tensegrity. Often referred to as biotensegrity, when applied to organisms such as the human body, this concept involves structures or non-mobile components that are integrated with and stabilised by a network of members or mobile components that are stretched to different levels of tension.

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It literally looks like a spider has been having a good time beneath your skin. Ew. (2)

According to the model of tensegrity, such structures are not held together by the compression of other structures but by the balanced elasticity of the members surrounding it. Understanding this relationship may make it easier to explain how changes to the fascia – in this case, the members – could affect all of the structures depending on it, such as the muscles and organs. Though there are three main kinds of fascia, most healthy examples share basic properties, such as:

  • Visco-elasticity – meaning its strands can stretch to a certain distance and slowly return to an original length once released from any applied tension
  • Consistency – which is managed by its fibres being arranged in lattice-like sheaths around internal bodily structures
  • Pre-cautionary – due to the covering it creates around certain nerves and blood vessels, particularly those that are inter-structual and pass in between muscles and bones
  • Flexibility – being both a supportive and mobile form of connective tissue
  • Security – by serving as further attachment points for muscles in different parts of the body

Superficial fascia usually covers the interior of the whole body just beneath the skin, filling unoccupied spaces, containing water and fat cells and serving as protective padding for specific structures. Visceral fascia, less elastic than its superficial counterpart, sometimes resembles cobwebs and can be found around the organs. Deep fascia, often appearing as strands in between layers of tissue, forms a thick, strong sheath around a structure and aids the function of muscles. Although it may be similar and occasionally used as a synonym, fascia differs from aponeuroses, which are tendon-like fibres that hold muscles in place, and interosseous membranes, which separate bones that run parallel to each other, such as the ulna and radius in the arm.

tensegrity
The Tensegrity Model: a structure held upright purely by balanced tension (3)

For more information about fascia, check out our earlier posts at: Hijama and Referred PainHijama and the Muscular System and What is the Graston Technique?

We hope that this information has benefitted you, our dear readers, and we would love to hear from you. Comments, questions and weekly topic suggestions are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading!

The Pure Therapy Team

Images referenced from:
(1) http://www.solomonsseal.net/images/faciameme.jpg
(2) http://medicienterprises.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/fasciafitness_srcset-large.jpg
(3) https://openi.nlm.nih.gov/imgs/512/249/3187798/PMC3187798_pone.0025627.g001.png

 

 

Does fasting influence Hijama (cupping)?

Greetings, dear readers

Fasting. A practice that has taken many different forms, ranging from generalised water fasting to abstinence from specific foods such as meat and fish. Periods of fasting can span the length of a few hours whilst some last several days at a time. The duration of each individual fast is often dictated by its chosen purpose. For example, some people fast to detoxify their bodies whereas others do so to adhere to religious or health-related guidelines. Though methods may vary, fasting can be defined as an avoidance of food, and sometimes water, for select periods of time. This may seem like a process completely unrelated to Hijama (cupping). However, that assumption would be incorrect for a number of reasons.

Readers may have gathered by now that Hijama (cupping) is a treatment that generally involves the removal of waste from the body, during which a small amount of blood is often extracted too. Similarly to blood tests and blood donation, it has a relative physiological impact on the body and its systems. Unlike other blood work processes, this profound effect is what makes it such an effective treatment. Fasting, especially for a few hours, also has a distinct influence over bodily functions. Therefore, understanding how both affect the body is crucial knowledge for anyone planning to combine the two. Patients who have had a fasting blood test may be more familiar with the accompanying symptoms, such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches and occasionally even nausea.

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Though it may not feel like it, all fasting comes to an end at some point (1)

When checking for health conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol, doctors often prescribe fasting blood tests to their patients as a means of measuring the amount of glucose, lipids or other forms of fat in the body. During a certain period of time, the patient is advised to avoid eating and encouraged to drink plenty of water until a phlebotomist relieves them of the desired amount of blood. From this, Hijama (cupping) practitioners have deduced that eating before having cellular substances removed can influence the levels of glucose, lipids, iron and other digested nutrients in the blood vessels and significantly interfere with the state of a patient’s blood. If doing so can invalidate blood test results, it may be safe to assume that digested food would obstruct the flow of toxins or pathogens in the body too, making it more difficult for them to exit through small scratches in the skin.

blood test
Blood tests may sound scary but they’re not that bad. Provided you hydrate properly and give yourself time to adjust afterwards (2)

At Pure Therapy, we ask patients to avoid eating or drinking beverages for approximately three hours before their treatment with a second reason in mind. The human body increases blood flow to its digestive system via the superior mesenteric artery to help break down ingested food, resulting in less blood being carried to other bodily tissues. When deprived of food, the body becomes able to redirect blood from its digestive tract to other cellular structures, particularly areas in need of repairing. Fasting also enables the movement of cholesterol deposits that line the walls of blood vessels, allowing excess amounts to be removed along with other toxins during a Hijama (cupping) treatment. Hijama (cupping) practitioners are able to improve the effectiveness of their treatment plans by taking the aforementioned reasoning and the health of each patient into consideration.

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There are a few arteries that supply blood to the gastrointestinal tract. The superior mesenteric artery is one of them (3)

Further clinical implications need to acknowledged when a patient’s fasting hours are extended. Some fast for as long as twelve or even sixteen hours. Others aim to detoxify their bodies by going on a water fast, during which they avoid consuming anything except water for periods of two to seven days. The water fasts of experienced people can last up to thirty days. Regardless of its purpose, Hijama (cupping) practitioners should be made aware if their patients are fasting so that they can monitor their overall condition. Despite its numerous long term benefits, fasting can reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels, weakening the body for a short span of time and causing patients to be more prone to fainting during or after the treatment. Practitioners can avoid such adverse effects by using less cups than usual, treating the patient shortly before they break their fast or performing dry cupping instead of wet cupping.

We hope that this information has benefitted you, our dear readers, and we would love to hear from you. Comments, questions and weekly topic suggestions are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading!

The Pure Therapy Team

Images referenced from:
(1) https://static1.squarespace.com/static/554a38cae4b048953114e884/t/58c00735e3df28e544ec7558/1488979842319/
(2) https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C4TST_aWQAADMTt.jpg
(3) http://cephalicvein.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/superior-mesenteric-artery-copyright-2006-pearson-education-inc-publishing-as-benjamin.jpg