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Monthly Archives: August 2016

News coverage of Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps, Dana Vollmer and Alex Naddour covered in purple spots has everyone asking questions.  For instance, since when did Michael Phelps and Dana Vollmer begin training with a giant octopus?  Are those purple round spots on their bodies  caused from the suction cups of giant octopus tentacles?

What really is causing these spots and more importantly why do they do it?

Athletes often use alternative therapies such as the one causing all the spots, a.k.a. ancient Chinese “cupping”, for claims it aids healing, muscle recovery, and blood flow while reducing pain.  With strict doping prevention in sports competitions, athletes seek alternative therapies to relieve the pressures put onto their bodies from extensive training.  Although there isn’t always scientific research to back up claims of alternative therapies the mental aspect of using such treatments can bring a competitive advantage to an athlete.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)  has been around for thousands of years.  Qi (pronounced CHē) is intertwined with TCM, in its simplest form Qi is “energy”.  When your Qi is balanced, your body and being are given the healing support needed to regain healthy function.  The most common healing modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine are Herbal Medicines or dietary supplements, Tai chi and qi gong, and  Acupuncture and Acupressure.

During an acupuncture session, the acupuncture needle acts as a conduit between the patient’s Qi and the practitioner’s Qi.  When the needles are placed in key acupoints by a skilled acupuncturist who’s energy frequency matches yours, the stagnant or blocked Qi in your body is allowed to once again flow freely to assist with healing and pain relief.

Since needles can be rather intimidating for many people, there are adjunct therapies often used with TCM, but can stand on their own for their suggested healing benefits.  Cupping, like Acupuncture has been an ancient Chinese healing therapy.  Cupping therapy became a hot new trend a few years ago with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Anniston proudly sporting the large dark purple or reddish spots generated after a cupping therapy.  Most recently, several of the 2016 Rio Olympians, such as Michael Phelps, Dana Vollmer, and Alex Naddour  are decorated in the dark bruising spots giving more visibility to this Chinese therapeutic modality.

So what is Cupping?

Cupping as described by the Olympic athletes is “negative massage”.  Dana Vollmer stated that only so much relief is obtained from pushing into the muscle.  And with Cupping, instead of pushing into the muscle the cupping pulls the muscle up and draws blood to the surface providing relief of pressure.  Cupping for athletes is known as myofascial decompression (MFD).  In MFD, work is required of the athlete.  After the athlete is cupped the physical therapist has the athlete perform specific active movements based on the specific muscles used during their sport.  MFD is also used in the traditional cupping therapy for relaxation versus active motion.

Cupping received its name because variously sized glass cups are used as suction devices that are strategically placed on the skin.  In the most general terms there are two types of cupping: dry cupping and wet cupping.   The glass or sometimes plastic cups have replaced the animal horns of ancient tiSuction Pump Cupping Setmes.  For cupping to work, suction in the cups must be created.  A dry method known as fire cupping, creates the suction by inserting a fire ball (Using a match lite a cotton swab moistened with alcohol) into the glass cupping jars and quickly removing prior to positioning on the skin.  The heat pulls oxygen out of the cup creating a gentle suction raising the skin inside. If fire is too intimidating you can try dry cupping by using specially designed  vacuum cups that have small pumps attached to remove the air.  Once the superficial muscle tissue is pulled into the cup a therapist can move the cup along with skin while still being attached. This is a widely popular technique that helps to relax tight muscles and promote blood flow in the small capillaries of the body where blood can stagnate. This gliding cupping technique is commonly used for chronic muscle pain.

Wet cupping is believed to release  more toxins because it involves drawing out a small amount of blood during the suction procedure.  Wet cupping involves removing the cup after it’s first applied and then quickly prick the skin using a needle or make a small cut with a cupping scalpel.  Once the cup is replaced a small amount of blood is drawn out from the suction.

Cupping therapy was commonly used by the ancient Chinese to treat pulmonary disorders and still to this day is often used to clear congestion in lungs during a common cold.  If you are interested in trying alternative therapies such as cupping, seek out a qualified health expert.  It is always best practice to consult your physician prior to any new medical treatments either traditional or alternative.

Since 1997, AllegroMedical.com has been providing pain relief products online.  With the addition of our Massage Therapy  and Chiropractic Supplies we are now bringing you the popular Cupping Therapy Products used by Therapists on the 2016 US Olympic Team.  If you need to purchase Massage Therapy  and Chiropractic Supplies, rely on AllegroMedical.com for all of your product needs.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Use Your Cunningham Clamp

The Bard Cunningham Clamp is a simple device designed to help men control leakage or dribbling from stress incontinence.  Urinary leakage from sneezing, straining, coughing, jumping, running or lifting things is called stress incontinence. The Cunningham Clamp is also an easy to use device for dribbling or leakage as a result from prostate cancer.  A penis clamp stops the urine flow by applying gentle pressure on the urethra on the underside of the penis.

How to Size Your Clamp

Available in large, regular, or juvenile to meet all types of sizes.  Finding the best fit is easy, using a soft measuring tape all you need to do is measure  around the shaft of your penis, compress lightly.

Place your thumb and forefinger near the middle of your shaft.  Apply gentle pressure, enough to stop the flow of urine, and then you are ready to measure the area around the shaft of your penis.

  • 3 inches or more, purchase the large clamp.
  • 2 inches, purchase the regular clamp.
  • 1½ inches, purchase the juvenile clamp.

How to Apply Your Clamp

  1. Always start with freshly washed and dried hands.
  2. Place your penis between the 2 foam pads on the clamp. The clamp should be in the middle of your shaft.
  3. Begin tightening clamp to compress your urethra. The large and regular clamps each have 5 settings that adjust the pressure on your urethra. Use the ratchet catch to adjust the pressure. To release the catch, press inward on both of the spring wire loops. Only the juvenile clamp is not adjustable.
  4. Shape the upper foam pad with your fingers for optimal fit and comfort.
  5. Release your clamp to urinate
  6. Re-apply clamp after urinating.  Try to place clamp on a slightly different part of your shaft after each re-application.

Important Reminders

  • Urinate:  Approximately every 1 to 2 hours remove clamp to urinate.  This will help you to avoid urinary tract infections.
  • Move Clamp Around:  Every 2 hours, move the clamp up or down your shaft. Do not keep it clamped for more than 2 hours in the same place.
  • Not for Sleeping:  Do NOT useat night while you are sleeping.  Switch to incontinence products for bladder leakage during the night.
  • Not Too Tight:  Avoid restricting blood circulation by ratcheting clamp too tight on penis. This will help you maintain blood circulation and prevent skin irritation. It is important that you have proper sensation in your penis so that you can feel anything that is painful or irritating.
  • Inspect:  Perform weekly inspections for signs of cracking, foam deterioration or discoloration.
  • Replace:  Every 3 months replace your clamp.  Replace sooner if the foam has worn down.

How to Clean Your Clamp

Follow the steps below to clean your clamp. Make sure to clean your clamp when it gets soiled.

  1. Hand wash your clamp in a sink with mild soap and warm water. Do not use bleach, detergent, or hot water on your clamp.
  2. Rinse your clamp thoroughly in cool, clean water.
  3. Gently squeeze the foam to get rid of excess water.
  4. Let your clamp dry in a cool place away from excess heat or direct sunlight. Do not put your clamp in the washer or dryer or use a blow dryer on it.

When to Call Your Doctor

If you experience any of the following symptoms while your clamp is on or off call your doctor or nurse.

  • Swelling, discoloration, or discharge from your penis
  • Skin irritation
  • Loss of sensation in your penis
  • Pain or irritation on your penis
  • Any other unusual symptoms

Since 1997 Allegro Medical has been a leading supplier of incontinence supplies to healthcare providers and consumers.  If you need to purchase incontinence products, rely on AllegroMedical.com for all of your incontinence needs.

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