What is cupping?
Cupping therapy is an ancient therapy developed in Egypt, China and the Middle East. Special cups are applied to the skin to create suction. This suction increases blood flow to the area to reduce pain and inflammation, improve muscle function and promote detox. Cupping also loosens the connective tissue and fascia that surrounds the muscles and breaks up scar tissue that may have formed.
The cups can be stationary or they can move across your skin with a lubricant to provide a massage-like effect. These different types have unique functions and various combinations are used on different parts of the body to create the desired effects. Cups are typically left on the skin between 5 and 20 minutes depending on the area being worked on and the patient’s tolerance.
What conditions does cupping treat?
· Muscle pain and tension
· Headaches and migraines
· Low back pain
· Knee pain
How is the suction created for cupping?
There are different ways of creating the suction. When using glass cups, suction is created using combustion. Lighting a controlled flame creates a vacuum in the cup. When the cup is applied to the skin the tissue is drawn up into the cup and it sticks to the skin. In my practice, I use silicone cups; so you don’t need to worry about fire at all! This way I create the suction manually and I can vary the amount of suction created. This gives me the freedom to change the suction according to your body and how you respond.
What does cupping feel like?
Cupping is not always comfortable depending on how tight your muscles are. If your muscles are less mobile, the suction will feel more intense until they loosen. We can vary the amount of suction to your tolerance though. Sometimes you can feel the cups moving over trigger points or adhesions within the muscles which can be a strange sensation at first. With regular treatment, your muscles should start to feel looser, your flexibility should improve and your pain should decrease.
What are the risks of cupping?
Cupping usually causes leaves on the skin due to the increased blood flow to the skin, similar to a bruise. These marks usually resolve on their own in a few days. There may also be temporary tenderness of the muscles that have been worked on but this usually only lasts a day or so. As your body gets used to regular treatment, the bruising marks and tenderness should become less pronounced.