NEDERLAND — The Vitality Wellness Med Spa is providing two unique experiences of relief — Cupping and NeuroKinetic Therapy.
Ashley Lewis, the spa’s licensed massage therapist, is trained in both techniques.
Cupping therapy is an alternative therapy that originated in China. The technique involves placing cups on the skin to create suction.
Lewis became certified in cupping in 2015.
“Cupping is good for pain relief,” she said. “It’s for people with chronic pain, recovering from surgeries or recently in a car accident. I like to incorporate the procedure with massage therapy when I don’t see the results I want.
“It’s good for everything, flexibility, joints and circulation. What it does is move the stagnant fluid in our bodies. It brings extra relief, increases range of movement and flexibility while subsiding the pain a lot.”
Lewis said she often incorporates the cups within her usual massage sessions.
“First thing I do is make sure cupping is a good route for the client,” she said. “It is pretty intense. It’s a good pain, but I make sure to do some stretching, check the range of motion and things like that. For instance, say we are doing the shoulder. We want to see what is interrupting the range of motion first.”
The cups work like a vacuum sucking the pressure out of the spot in need.
Lewis’ cupping technique does not use fire or glass cups, which is the typical route used for athletic recovery.
“I use silicone cups, which are less intense,” she said. “They are easy to use and I can massage with them, too. I have had it done before and it’s really intense. This still gives the same effect and relieves pain at the same rate.”
Lewis uses a cupping gun for specific spot healing and higher intensity.
“We have different levels,” she said. “We have some that are good for areas that are harder to get to such as joints like in the elbow. The gun is smaller and can pump more pressure bringing more intensity. It just depends on what the client needs and is comfortable with.”
In the past, cupping was used only for athletes to provide a quick turnaround.
Lewis has been using the technique routinely for the last two and a half years.
“It’s more of a booster to what I already do,” she said.
Lewis’ services also include NeuroKinetic Therapy, a service that isn’t offered anywhere else in Southeast Texas.
NeuroKinetic Therapy is based on the premise that when an injury has occurred, certain muscles shut down or become inhibited, forcing other muscles to become overworked.
“It’s about the brain-to-muscle relationship,” Lewis said. “We see what muscles are weak and which are strong. Those weak muscles might not fire properly, so what I do is try to activate the muscle that needs to be doing its job. With NeuroKinetic Therapy I can troubleshoot the problem without having to do a full-body massage. It often goes hand-in-hand with physical therapy and body movement.”
Lewis said it’s based on muscle testing.
“We find the muscles, instead of searching through the whole body to see what is wrong, and we re-train your brain to use it.”
Lewis trained for NeuroKinetic therapy in California. She’s been offering practice since the med spa opened a year and a half ago.
The system is popular for those uncomfortable with traditional massage methods.
“A lot of people aren’t comfortable with being massaged,” Lewis said. “Some people are ticklish or shy, so this is a way for me to treat people without the massage and extra touching and you get to stay fully clothed.”
Melissa McKey, a nurse practitioner, has received both methods of therapy.
“I had pulled my shoulder over heavy lifting and I had a lot of pain and no relief, even after I got a steroid injection,” she said. “I let Ashley assess the pain and see what was best. She cupped it, did the NeuroKinetic Therapy and told me to stay off of it for a week.
“I went from not being able to fully lift my left arm to being able to use the full-range of motion and can lift weights again. My shoulder’s been fine since.”
A usual misconception of the cupping technique is that it’s painful and leaves bruises.
McKey said that is not the case.
“Cupping does not hurt at all,” she said. “It actually feels good because of the warmth that it’s bringing and the increase blood flow. That pressure feels good. There is some pressure, but the immediate release of the tenderness is worth it.”
Lewis’ arsenal of massage services also includes Myofascial Release, a form of deep tissue massage, Thai massage and basic packages such as full bod, deep tissue, hot stone and more.
Vitality Wellness Med Spa, 1003 Nederland Avenue, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule a service, call 409-344-4466.