September 3, 2012

Loving Your Core & Big Buddha Belly Too. ~ Marianna Dubova & Trista Hendren

What does it mean to hate your core, your center, your soul?

This is not an article about how to get ripped abs or an article to make you feel bad about yourself because you don’t. The reality is that most people never will have six-packed abs regardless of what they do.

This is an article about being healthy and feeling good about yourself, regardless of your size. We are all different, and that is what makes each of us uniquely beautiful.

As we age, many of us put on fat around our bellies. This is not to shame anyone; it’s a normal part of life. If you feel uncomfortable with the extra layer that creeps up from time to time, we have a solution to help you to address it in a healthy way.

Often, we gain weight around our middle when we are stressed, which is an all-too-common state in our society. We build up toxins and the fat creeps in around our organs, which can be dangerous if it goes unchecked.

Even with a relatively healthy diet and exercise routine belly fat sneaks up due to environmental toxins. Just like a good cleansing program, cupping can help eliminate many of these toxins.

Many people—especially women—believe that being “perfect” is so critical; they will go to extreme methods such as liposuction and starving themselves. These measures are both depleting and dangerous. The diet industry is a $35 billion a year business.  Plastic surgery is growing by leaps and bounds. All of these businesses depend on people feeling bad about how they look.

The stomach is one of the most hated parts of our bodies. It is also the critical center of the entire body.

“Your stomach/core supports your body and houses your reproductive organs but more than that, in being called “core” carries even more weight than that measured by a scale—and what does it mean to “hate your core”? What does it means to “hate” your center? To “hate” that which holds you up. To “hate” that which allows you to reproduce? Does hating your physical (stomach) core mean that you also hate your essence (soul) core?” ~ Alexis Wolfer

We must come to term with our core. I’ve always thought we should do the best we can with the body the goddess gave us, and learn to accept the result. To me this means eating relatively healthy, getting enough exercise, and taking inventory once in a while to see if there is anything we can do to improve our overall health. I do not believe in drastic measures or wasting money on things that do not work.

In the West, we are told that we need to buy more to feel better.  Most of us would feel better by slowing to figure out what is actually going on within.

I have been a fan of Eastern medicine for many years, and rarely see a regular doctor. While Western medicine treats primarily superficially, Eastern medicine has long treated the root of the problem.

Prior to that, I had chronic back pain. I was frustrated because I felt like I was always getting close to finding a more permanent solution, yet lacked the funds to get treatments as often as I needed them. I felt like if I were able to afford getting acupuncture and cupping daily for a while, my back would improve dramatically. However, as a single mom, I saw no way to fit that into my already tight budget.

I popped Excedrin and Ibuprofen like candy. As someone who tries to be relatively healthy, I knew I could do better.

Several months ago, my acupuncturist mentioned in passing that many families did cupping at home in Russia while she was growing up. The wheels began spinning in my head. I watched a few videos on YouTube and asked Marianna more questions. I bought some cups online and began cupping my back.

Now I use professional services occasionally, because  primarily cup myself. I save hundreds of dollars every month. My chiropractor can’t believe how much better my back is too!

I began to think that perhaps cupping would help me with the belly fat that had crept up recently. I don’t believe in dieting and am relatively healthy, so I wasn’t too concerned. I just wanted to look a little better. Mariana confirmed my suspicions that cupping would help both reduce toxins and lose some of the extra flab there.

One way to feel better: cupping therapy

Cupping therapy is simple, safe and effective therapeutic technique, that  can be used alone or in combination with acupuncture. Most people know about cupping because of the visible marks, but don’t understand the benefits.

Cupping is the application of suction cups to the body. The traditional application of “fire cups” involves inserting a flame into a glass cup and creating a vacuum.  When the cup is placed on the skin surface, the skin will be drawn up by the suction forming a firm grip around the rim.

The benefits of cupping are numerous. Cupping can be used to clear stagnation, nourish blood supply to the skin and muscles, drain and move fluids, reduce inflammation, expel congestion, loosen adhesions, stretch muscles and lift connective tissue.

Recently I was talking to an older Bulgarian man about cupping, who initially said he wasn’t familiar with it. I asked him to think back, because I was pretty certain he would remember someone who had used it. Sure enough, after a few minutes he was smiling with the childhood memory of his father, who would often walk around with cups stuck wherever he had pain.

How cupping therapy influences belly fat

Excess belly fat can place you at an increased risk for major health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Your amount of fat stored in your stomach is influenced by your diet, alcohol consumption, stress level, sleep patterns and exercise. As you age, your body will store more fat in the stomach than other areas of the body.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, stubborn belly fat is considered to be phlegm deposits and toxins. The principal behind cupping is that the cups unblock the qi and stimulate circulation and reduce sickness. This release encourages weight loss by helping to restore stomach function and reduce appetite.

Cupping therapy stretches the walls of the organs in the abdominal cavity and stimulates elimination of stagnant waste and mucus. It promotes healthy digestive activity. The additional byproduct of feeling less stressed after a treatment may also help to reduce overeating habits.

Cupping therapy can improve both the appearance and function of the stomach. It has been used for thousands of years around the world and is relatively inexpensive.  In fact, you can purchase a set of cups for about $30 that will last forever.

Cupping has come out of popularity in many places. However, we are seeing a revival, particularly in England. Sometimes, the oldest methods really do work best.

There are different types of cups including glass fire cups, vacuum cups with hand pump, silicone or rubber cups and glass cups with rubber bulbs.

Glass fire cups have the strongest suction, but we recommend the other versions if you plan to cup yourself. While you can learn how to do this on your own, you do have a slight burn risk with the fire cups, particularly when working on hard to reach areas.

Consider seeing a licensed acupuncturist to learn as much as you can about cupping therapy before trying to cup yourself. That said, there are many places in the world where cupping is commonly done at home, with the knowledge passed on from parent to child.

We have forgotten about this important therapy with the rise of newer weight loss tricks. We invite you to try this age-old method to reduce belly fat and accumulated toxins.

Self-love begins with taking care of ourselves. Join us in celebrating our essence by honoring our core .


Marianna Dubova, L.Ac grew up in Russia, where she was exposed to cupping at an early age at home. She refined her cupping techniques while studying to become a RN at the School of Nursing in St. Petersburg and later earned a Masters Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.  She uses cupping in her professional practice daily and receives weekly cupping treatments. She is currently working on two books about Cupping Therapy with Trista. You can find daily cupping tips on their Facebook Page, Bye-Bye Buddha Belly!

Trista Hendren is a Certified Coach with Imagine a Woman International and author of The Girl God.  She is fond of Kundalini Yoga, multiple orgasms and Velomobiles. Trista prefers to be sitting in the sun surrounded by several books, a picnic basket and her children. She lives between Portland, Oregon with her kids and Bergen, Norway with her husband. You can read more about her project with Elisabeth Slettnes at www.thegirlgod.com.

Editor: Colleen Simpson

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