Cupping therapy is a form of traditional Chinese medicine. It’s been used to help people heal naturally from many diseases and dysfunctions for thousands of years. Some of you may have first been introduced to cupping during the Rio Summer Olympic Games 2016. Many of the swimmers were seen on national television with the markings of cupping therapy. Athletes alike are all too familiar with the benefits of experiencing cupping therapy. The strains and demands that are put on their bodies can result in both major and minor injuries. People that suffer from any type of general pain, tension, or inflammation can benefit from cupping therapy as well. In my personal practice I use this form of therapy to help almost every client that walks through my door. Cupping therapy is performed in several ways with several different types of cups, each method will depend on what your issue is and how the practitioner is trained.
Different Methods of Cupping
In modern times cups are usually made of glass, hard medical plastic, medical grade rubber, and/or silicone. Glass cups are usually placed on the areas of treatment by warming the inside of the cup with a flame source to ensure a good suction onto the skin. Hard plastic cups are usually placed onto the skin and vacuumed by either a machine or a hand held pump to ensure proper suction onto the skin. Rubber and silicone cups are placed by hand with a squeezing action to ensure proper suction is obtained. All of these different types of cups can be placed on specific points, meridian lines, or areas of congestion present in the connective tissue. They are usually placed for a set period of time and the suction strength can vary from issue to issue and client to client. Rubber and silicone cups are often times used to perform cupping massage. Cupping massage is performed by applying the cup to the skin, gently lifting and dragging the cup over the treatment areas. This method can be used for unsightly cellulite build up as well as pain, tension, and inflammation. There are two forms of cupping both wet and dry. This article will discuss the dry techniques.
Who can benefit from cupping techniques?
In my experience most everyone I treat can benefit from cupping therapy and cupping massage. People that have autoimmune diseases causing inflammation, tension, pain, and mobility issues usually have great results from cupping. Anyone suffering from digestive and G.I. issues have great success as well. As I first mentioned earlier, athletes at all levels use this form of therapy to prevent and heal current strains and injuries. People that are stressed out, experience anxiety, and have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep benefit greatly from cupping sessions. Cellulite can cause emotional stress for those that have it and cupping massage really helps diminish the appearance, while boosting self esteem. Many people report weight loss after regular cupping sessions, due to the encouraged release of toxins present in the body. As with autoimmune symptoms anyone suffering from chronic issues can benefit as well. This form of therapy compliments most all forms of bodywork causing a synergistic affect, creating optimal results. It’s advisable to seek out a healthcare professional before incorporating any new therapy into your healthcare plan. There are some cases where cupping therapy may not be the appropriate form of therapy and can cause more harm than good, so getting the right practitioner and advice is very important.
What to expect during a cupping session?
Typically before a cupping session starts the practitioner will warm and prepare your tissues through soft tissue manipulation, the use of moist heat, and a lubricant for easy suction and glide. I’ve found the use of essential oils to be very helpful while performing a session, not only for the mild discomfort, but for the overall effectiveness. Warming of the tissues before any bodywork is sort of like asking the body for permission to begin work. It’s very similar to warming before exercise, the body must be ready to work. It’s a vital step in the cupping process.
The parked cupping method (where the cups are placed and left for a specific amount of time) can and usually leave marks. These markings will vary in color and pattern within the circle depending on the suction strength, your issues, and length of time left on. They will heal over a period of time, but that time varies, again dependent on your specific issues and how your body reacts to the therapy. The markings left behind are said to be a road map of what internal issues you may have going on. Your practitioner should explain the process and your markings to set your mind at ease. The markings can be tender at first and many times clients report not feeling them at all, only noticing the circular marks while gazing in the mirror. During the session some clients report feeling a very heavy elated feeling, some fall asleep, and some people enjoy the second session more, simply because they know what to expect. I encourage anyone that is suffering from symptoms causing discomfort to explore cupping as an option for relief.
Cupping massage techniques can leave dragging marks, but usually disappear more quickly than the parked method. Most times there are no marks at all from cupping massage. Again its all relative to your body and your issues at the the time of treatment. In some cases a hard plastic cup will be suctioned onto the skin and used for cupping massage. This usually takes place when the rubber or silicone cup is not suctioned properly due to lack of adipose tissue. In any case your tissues will become red and warm as the circulatory system is stimulated. You may feel a warming and flushing of blood as the process occurs. Many times clients report feeling their discomforts melting away. It’s also the preferred method to help diminish the appearance of unsightly cellulite.
I hope you’ve found this article to be beneficial and I encourage you to further explore bodywork techniques to help alleviate symptoms that disrupt your balanced and harmonious lifestyles. Below will be links for more information pertaining to cupping therapy. Until we meet again, Happy Healing!
Sonya Simpson LMT MA86918
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So the next time you are shopping around for a massage, think about what your needs are as a client and what you expect to get out of the massage. Contact local therapists that offer free consultations, read other client reviews, explore their websites, and educate yourself on what specific therapies are offered. Searching for a good therapist can be much like searching for a good doctor or dentist. Don’t let rates dictate where you schedule a massage, instead seek out a professional that offers a great quality of service. The end results will be worth it every time!
I hope you’ve found this post to be helpful in your search for a good massage to meet your specific needs. Until we meet again, Happy Healing!
~Sonya Simpson LMT MA86918
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Sonya has a yoga and fitness background, with extensive study in Aromatherapy. She is a dually licensed massage therapist in Mississippi and Florida. She is a professional member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the International Aliance of Holistic Therapists (IAHT). Her studies include: Aromatherapy, Deep Tissue Manipulation, Sports Massage Techniques, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Cupping Therapy, Reflexology, Yoga Therapy and Swedish Relaxation Massage.