By now you have probably heard about cupping or have seen those strange marks on Michael Phelps and other members of the US olympic swim team. Cupping is an ancient technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as other ancient healing systems; and it is often effectively used to treat musculoskeletal pain. In TCM cupping is traditionally preformed with glass cups and uses fire to create a vacuum inside the cup before it is placed onto the skin. While the fire technique is still used, new methods are more portable and use glass or plastic cups along with a suction device to create the vacuum. The cup is placed onto the skin and the air sucked out creating a vacuum. As a result of the vacuum action, the skin and underlying tissue are sucked into the cup. The cups remain on the skin for 5-20 minutes and can be moved around to cover a larger area. But what is really going on and how does this help reduce pain?

While the exact mechanism of action behind cupping is still under investigation, there are several theories to explain the therapeutic effects of cupping. One explanation is that the vacuum created lifts the skin into the cup increasing circulation to the area, thus allowing metabolic waste such as lactate to be removed from the muscles (Emerich, 2013). Another theory involves neurotransmitters and the gate theory. This theory suggests that during cupping chemical transmitters such as endorphins are released. This release then blocks pain signals and decreases pain (Rozenfeld, 2015). It has also been proposed that cupping has an effect on the immune system. Cupping creates inflammation of the underlying tissue which in turn can stimulate the immune system and increase lymph flow (Rozenfeld, 2015).

No matter what the mechanism of action, our Bastyr Sports Medicine team as well as the Acupuncture Sports Medicine team have successfully incorporated cupping into treatment at our events. As a result many of our patients have experienced pain relief. For most patients cupping is a safe and effective therapy with few side effects other than mild bruising. Take a look below for an example of cupping in action!



Rozenfeld, E., & Kalichman, L. (2016). New is the well-forgotten old: The use of dry cupping in musculoskeletal medicine. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies20(1), 173–178.

Emerich, M., Braeunig, M., Clement, H. W., Lüdtke, R., & Huber, R. (2014). Mode of action of cupping-Local metabolism and pain thresholds in neck pain patients and healthy subjects. Complementary Therapies in Medicine22(1), 148–158.



2016 Emerald City Classic Volleyball Tournament

This past Memorial Day long weekend, the Bastyr Sports Medicine Club returned to the ECC volleyball tournament for the 7th consecutive year to provide voluntary sports medicine, medical care, and first aid care to over 2000 athletes aged 11-18. A total of 200 volleyball teams from several states, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, as well as from Canada, were invited to participate in the three-day tournament.

Lead by medical director and lead supervising physician, Dr. Masahiro Takakura ND, DC, LAc, and supervising physician Dr. Calvin Kwan ND, and accompanied by Dr. Andrew Simon ND, Dr. Darci Davis ND, Dr. Amoz Van Dyke ND, and Dr. Hannah Gordon ND, the BSMC club members provided hands on treatment to address a range of conditions, including bruises/contusions, abrasions, ankle injuries, knee pain, hip pain, wrist and finger injuries, ligamentous sprains, meniscal tears, muscle strains, athlete biomechanics, low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain/injuries, and various forms of tendonitis. The team of Naturopathic medical students and Doctors also evaluated and referred athletes for possible concussions and fractures.

Organized and led by the BSMC leadership team, nearly 30 club members arrived to the Dempsey Arena at the University of Washington over the weekend to utilize their learned physical medicine skills and provide care for the athletes who played several games throughout the weekend. The BSMC club members spent 2 months planning, training, and prepping for this event. Students from Bastyr’s San Diego campus, and the sports medicine club from Bastyr San Diego, also made the trip up to Seattle to join in on the action! Over nearly 35 hours of total service time, the students worked through quick physical assessments, ruling out injuries and emergency cases, and used a wide variety of physical medicine modalities to help treat the athletes. These modalities included ice therapy, cold friction rubs, soft tissue mobilization and myofascial release, muscle energy stretching and neuromuscular reeducation, naturopathic joint manipulations, craniosacral therapy, athletic taping, and Kinesio taping. Along with practicing these skills, the students practiced their history taking, physical exam and orthopedic exam skills, neurological evaluation of concussions, triaging acute injuries, and working in a team to provide optimal medical care! Further, the naturopathic medical students also provided appropriate follow-up treatments and recommendations such as home exercises, stretching, and appropriate medical referrals for conditions that needed more follow up. The high number of patient contacts was a tremendous opportunity for students to hone in on their medical decision-making skills and gain valuable feedback from the supervising doctors.

As done so in previous years, BSMC also worked alongside the Bastyr TCM Sports Medicine club, supervised by Sofina Lin, LAc, providing integrative Naturopathic sports medicine and traditional Chinese medicine to help treat the volleyball players! There was also a great collaborative effort to communicate with the volunteer EMT of the event on first aid cases. All in all, it was a tremendous display of collaboration between the various medical teams present at the tournament.

BSMC would like to give a big thank-you to our supervising physicians and practitioners for taking the time out of their day to help medical students practice their skills and gain valuable real world experience. Also, a huge thank-you goes out to Jim Clavadetscher, ECC event organizer, for once again inviting us out and allowing us to practice our medicine. We look forward to re-joining the ECC team next year for an even bigger and better event!

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2016 US Gaelic Football Event Finals

Our Bastyr Sports Medicine Club has been given the opportunity to be the First Aid/Medical Team at the 2016 US Gaelic Football Finals held for the first time in Seattle.
If you are wondering what Gaelic Football is about, please click on the “Gaelic Football” link to have an idea about the sport. It is a combination of soccer, football, basketball, rugby etc… This is an intense sport as you can see which will require much necessary medical attention.  The other event being held is Gaelic Hurling which is a mix of baseball, lacrosse, golf, etc…
The BSMC would like to welcome members and students of various levels to join us in providing quality care to these players. The age ranges between 16 year olds to almost 60 years old with skill levels ranging from novice to highly skilled and trained competitors.
For this event, you will be training to tape, clean wounds, assess concussion, and to triage in a high paced environment.  It will be a great opportunity to practice your physical medicine skills as well as gain knowledge in taking care of patients between short breaks and emergent situations to becoming able to observe and learn whether the situation is safe to treat or in need of a referral to the ER.
The event will be located at Magnuson Park on Labor Day Weekend from September 2-4. We will post sign ups for shifts between 7:30am-8pm each day in early August.  There will be over a hundred teams with about 2000 athletes expected to participate in this event.
Please visit their website at for more information. So get ready and gear up to join us for this awesome event.
The club meeting with Dr. Masa, Dr. Kwan and Dr. Darci will be at MIC (8012 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117).
July 30th3pm-5pm
August 8th6-8pm
August 13th3-5pm
August 22nd6-8pm

Upcoming Craniosacral 1 Class

Hey all!

Due to popular demand, Dr. Masa is offering a Craniosacral Therapy I class on the weekend of Fri, Jan 8- Sun, Jan 10, 2016.   This will allow those of you who want to take Dr. Cortney’s CST II in the Winter 2016 to do so as well because they are within the same series.
Please message Ngoc at if you are interested in retaking CST I because that price will be decided depending on the class size.  (For sure, no more than $100 for a retake and you must provide proof of prior registration).

Deadline to sign up is on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 by 8pm with Ngoc.  I will send out a confirmation email by the end of the night on 1/6/16.

Location: Masa Integrative Clinic
8012 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117

Friday: 6-8pm
Sat/Sun: 9-6pm
Please bring the required text: An Integrative Approach to Craniosacral Therapy – Cranial Connections, by Faith A. Christensen and Masahiro Takakura
(Can be found at the bookstore)
Make your checks out to SNCC for $325 for students, $425 for professionals.  No deposit, but a check with the full price listed and dated for January 10,2016 must be turned in to Ngoc’s mailbox at campus/clinic “Le, Anh ND/AOM”.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Seattle Marathon 2015


Seattle Marathon

It is that exciting time of the year again for the opportunity to help runners from our community at the Seattle Marathon.  This event is happening on Sunday, November 29, 2015. 

It has been a tradition for the Bastyr Sport Medicine Club to provide assistance and treatment to athletes before and/or after their run. You will not only gain clinical experience, but also see patients at a fast-paced and acute setting.  The benefits also including receiving preceptorship hours from our BSMC supervisors, Dr. Masahiro Takakura, ND, DC, LAc and Dr. Calvin Kwan, ND, CKTI. Furthermore, ND Primaries if you are interested in receiving shift hours, please email for more information.

Also we are welcoming those that were unable to make it to the meetings. This is a great opportunity to come practice your physical medicine skills, learn about athlete management, and participate in the community. We look forward to seeing you at the event!

  • WhereVictory Recovery Area – Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
  • WhenSunday, November 29th, 6:30am setup – 4pm
  • Dress Code:
  • Clinic attire – business casual (button downs/dark polos, khaki/slacks), comfortable shoes
  • Bring your Bastyr ID and lanyards.
  • Personal Belongings: as minimal as possible; there is no place to store your belongings except against the wall! BSMC leaders will bring their medical equipment so you don’t have to.
  • Food: some snacks, water will be provided; please bring your own lunch


Details to keep in mind:

  • PLEASE CHECK-IN and CHECK OUT when you arrive.

◦  Every volunteer + every patient must sign consent forms!

◦  You will sign up for a number, make sure your 1st/2nd year knows these numbers and fills out the forms accordingly

  • Be professional when speaking to the runners and our supervising doctors.

◦ Address the doctors appropriately: “Dr. ______”  

◦ We are fortunate to be able to have this experience practicing under their license.

  • Stay sharp and take questions up the chain of command:

◦ Primaries –> BSMC leaders –> Doctors

◦ please do not give out health recommendations without consulting first!

Check out pictures from last year’s event at our Facebook page:

-BSMC Leadership