Off to FINLAND!

  Finland is different from that of other Nordic countries like the one we visited in our last blog, Switzerland.  Bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, as well as Sweden, Norway, and Russia, Finland is the northernmost country in the European Union, and is called ''the land of a thousand lakes,'' but at last count there were 187,888 of them - more lakes in relation to a country's size than any other. Indeed, with a population of about five million, Finland has one lake for every 26 people. That’s a lot of lakes…you think the Land O’ Lakes butter people know this? Anyway….

  I’ve only traveled to Helsinki, Finland’s largest city is also its capital and one of the most popular cities to visit. The two places I visited that still stand out from my visit there are Mannerheim Museum and Fortress of Suomenlinna. I would suggest visiting both of those places, you can book guided walking tours of the Fortress to get a bit of the history and interesting stories. The museum is interesting if you walk it with a guide or ion your own, but having a guide to explain the historical importance of the displays REALLY makes a visit there better!

  I traveled Finland via the web and found these to be the top five most interesting places to me…you may and will find others…but heres my top 5.

1. Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is the old city situated in the north, not far from the Arctic Circle (only about 10 kilometers). Its history dates back to the Stone Age when it was a place of settlements but the city’s name was first mentioned in the 15th century.

It is a hometown of Santa Claus so once you are here, do not forget to visit its Office, Village, Park and many other attractions related to this famous figure. This is why the city is quite popular among travelers.

2. Levi…my love of snowboarding may make me plan a trip here soon!

One of the most popular ski resorts in Finland is known as Levi. 43 ski slopes and 27 lifts are a guarantee of great skiing experience in Finland. The resort’s position within the Arctic Circle is then a guarantee of snow cover during the majority part of the year.

More than a half of them are lit so you can ski here even during the nights. Cross country skiing is also very popular here. You can try it on more than 200 kilometers of tracks. Not far from here is another Igloo hotel, from where you can watch northern lights

3. Hämeenlinna

City of Hämeenlinna is a pleasant stop on the route between Helsinki and Tampere. You can take a short walk across the main square towards a peaceful park on the shore of the lake. It is here where you can find a huge castle Hämeenlinna (known simply as Häme), the main landmark of the city.

And if you’re a fan of more modern history, right next to it you can find the artillery museum with an extensive exhibition of weapons mainly from the last century.

4. Savonlinna

Right in the heart of the Finnish lake region of Saimaa lies the romantic city of Savonlinna. It is situated on two islands between the lakes Haapavesi and Pihlavesi. Due to the numerous monuments the city has become a popular destination for tourists and those who visit it will not regret.

The most important and dominant landmark of the city is magnificent 15th century Olavinlinna Castle towering on a rocky island. The best time to visit this town is during its annual international Opera Festival that is held at the castle every summer.

5. Kemi

Kemi is another important tourist center especially in the winter when it houses snow castle Lumilinna. It is here, where you can sleep in the ice hotel or taste some of the delicious Finnish meals in ice restaurant.In winter you can also take a trip by icebreaker Sampo, which anchored in Kemi, and today operates mainly as a tourist attraction.

 

 

Finland has so much to offer a traveler and I cant wait to visit Lev and snowboard therei! 

Recently Olympic athletes has brought the holistic practice of cupping into the lime light. Finland with its steam baths and natural holistic medicine leanings has embraced cupping into it's traditions of natural medicine.

Wet cupping appears to be a living reminiscence of the traditional Finnish healing methods. Fifteen persons practicing or having practiced cupping were interviewed in Savo Province, Eastern Finland. The knowledge and skills of cupping appear to be transferred by personal apprenticeship within a family or from a neighbor. No written material is nowadays available and known to be used in learning. Cupping is considered by healers to be useful in the treatment of aching and pains of teeth, head, neck, shoulders, back and legs. Cuppers report cupping effective also in hypertension and skin diseases. On the other hand, the method is not regarded to be useful in problems of internal organs. Cupping is done after a sauna and bathing of the patient in a warm environment (in sauna). It is often preceded by massage. The small wounds in the cupping sites are made with the aid of a small knife. The healers have the opinion that bad blood must be removed from the superficial areas of the ailing parts of the body, The cupping sites were more or less specific to the ailments of the patient and the number of cups varied from patient to patient depending on the condition and size.

Most of the validity of cupping as an alternative medical practice comes from its long history of use over the past 3,000 years. Cupping techniques have been used extensively to treat a range of disorders and symptoms, sometimes on their own, or other times in conjunction with other alternative practices. It’s common for cupping therapy to be used along with massage therapy, essential oils, acupuncture or even as an adjunct to “Western medicine” treatments.

What we do know from the limited scientific studies that have been done is that cupping works by expanding the capillaries and increasing the amount of fluid entering and leaving tissues. Besides this, cupping therapy seems to provoke a relaxation response in some people, which means it’s useful for lowering stress and its negative effects.

While there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence that cupping can be effective and safe, to date very few clinical studies using humans have been conducted, making it hard to “prove” many of the time-honored benefits of cupping therapy. That being said, it’s worked for millions of people over many years, so here are five ways that cupping might be able to help you:

1. Helps Reduce Pain

One of the most common reasons people turn to alternative treatment methods is because they’re looking for a safe way tonaturally reduce joint pain and muscle pain. After reviewing dozens of randomized clinical trials testing cupping therapy in patients with pain of any origin, a report published in Evidence-Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine found that cupping significantly reduced pain compared to usual care treatments, showed positive effects in treating cancer pain compared with anticancer drugs and alagesics, and helped soothe pain associated with respiratory issues.

Cupping is thought to release tissues deep inside the body, relax tense muscles and ease stiffness associated with chronic back and neck pains, migraines, rheumatism, and fatigue. Some athletes have been known to use cupping therapy to naturally improve performance and reduce stiffness, muscle cramps, joint pains and scar tissue caused by injuries.

2. Promotes Relaxation

It might seem counteractive, but cupping often helps alleviate physical complaints and allows people to enter a more relaxed state since it sedates the central nervous system. This is similar to acupuncture, which you might assume hurts and is uncomfortable but actually seems to help lower most patients’ stress responses and therefore offers protection against anxiety and depression.

How can cupping be relaxing? Just the act of laying still and being “taken care of” during cupping therapy sessions might have a positive effect on someone’s psychological well-being, which could be one reason why it’s used to lower mental illnesses. Once the cups are placed down and suctioned, they might need to remain still for up to 20 minutes, which forces stillness and silence on patients who might otherwise lead very hectic lives. According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, another reason cupping is soothing is because the cups help lift pressure in tense muscles, which offers a relieving sensation just like receiving a deep tissue massage.

3. Boosts Skin Health

Cupping is used to reduce herpes cellulite, acne and skin inflammation. While studies haven’t shown it can necessarily help with weight loss, the fact that it tones and firms skin by improving blood flow and expanding capillaries makes it popular among celebrities and people in the spotlight who want to appear to have toned skin. As part of a skin-clearing or cellulite treatment,  oil is commonly first applied to the skin before the cups are suctioned and moved around, bringing heat to the area along with various skin-healing ingredients depending on the type of oil used.

Because cupping improves blood flow and might help lower inflammation, some studies have found it to be equally or even more effective at  treating acne compared to antibiotics. A meta-analysis of six studies showed that for improving acne, the cure rate of wet cupping was better than the cure rate following use of tanshinone,  tetracycline andketoconazole prescriptions.

4. Helps Treat Respiratory Issues and Colds

Commonly used to help nourish the lungs and clear away phlegm or congestion, cupping therapy can be useful for speeding up healing time from respiratory illnesses like the flu or common colds. Cupping helps improve immune function by moving blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body, which is why it’s been associated with reductions in lung diseases (especially chronic coughs), allergies, infections and asthma.

Treating respiratory conditions like pulmonary tuberculosis is one of the oldest uses for cupping and was utilized long before prescriptions were available.

5. Improves Digestion

Acupuncture and cupping are both popular ways to improve digestion and reduce symptoms from disorders like irritable bowel syndrome. This might primarily be because they can lower a patient’s stress response, which is highly tied to healthy digestive functioning.

Throughout history, cupping therapy has been found to be beneficial for people with frequent stomach pains, diarrhea, acute gastrisis, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal diseases and water retention. For digestive disturbances, cupping is commonly performed in the following areas: around the navel, over the bladder, around the kidneys or over the stomach.

 

On average, air quality is good in Finland and the local impacts of air pollutants are minor. However, in difficult weather conditions in winter and summer, pollutant levels in cities may rise to the same level as in Central European cities of similar size.  Thanks to air pollution control, air quality has improved significantly in Finland in recent decades. Emissions into the air are still generated by energy production, industry and traffic, especially in urban areas. In addition, long-distance transport brings air pollutants to Finland from other parts of the world, for example, in the form of smoke from forest fires.

The global effects of air pollution include the intensification of climate change, ozone layer depletion in the upper atmosphere and the chemicalisation of the environment. Regional impacts include the acidification of soil and waters as well as increased ozone concentrations in the troposphere. Emissions are also detrimental to human health and the surrounding area. For example, street dust and car exhaust most often cause symptoms in people suffering from respiratory tract diseases. VentMask can reduce and even eliminate particulate of outdoor pollution and also particulate trapped in air ducts of your hotel.

 

I hope you enjoyed learning a little about Finland and cupping. I hope you have a chance to travel there and try cupping for yourself or just look at some of the holistic spas in your area for a go at cupping. – Guy Rawson member of TheVentMaskTeam