Cupping Therapy! What is it? When to use it? How is it Therapy?!
Continue to read below to find out all you need to know on Cupping Therapy.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a therapy used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate the flow of qi (chi) and remove stagnation. Qi is the free flow of vital energy circulating through out the body and world around us. If the Qi (aka energy) is disturbed it can begin to create stagnation (aka blockages). This stagnation causes blockages resulting in imbalances in the body.
This type of therapy is a form of alternative medicine in which suction is created on the skin. As it may appear as a “bruise,” it is not bruising the body. A bruise is trauma, immediate impact to the body, Cupping happens very slowly with controlled suction to the skin. Another way cupping is thought to help is by opening the pores of the skin to allow the body to release toxins.
Benefits of Cupping
- Relaxation; suction cups provide a negative pressure on the skin, muscles, and fascia. (Whereas a deep tissue hands on massage is positive pressure) Both in which can be very relaxing and soothing experience.
- Promotes blood circulation speeds up muscle recovery. The negative pressure from the suction allows new blood to flow into that area of tissue.
- Provides a feeling of relief from physical and emotional tensions
- Begins the healing and regeneration process – the exchange of blood allows the removal of toxins and dead cells
- Enhances circulation
- Warms the skin, and softens tissues to regain elasticity
- Reduces inflammation
When is Cupping useful?
- Cupping increases the blood flow and warms the skin, which makes it easier for the therapist to get into the adhesions (aka knots) in your muscles.
- Once the cup is removed, the skin relays information to the therapist about the underlying tissue. A darker patch on skin would indicate an area of restriction or adhesion in the muscles.
- It can then help the therapist to pinpoint exactly where to massage. (Major benefits to using cupping therapy as an “add on” during a deep therapeutic massage appointment)
- As Cupping is a less strenuous (but not less effective) form of therapy, it helps the therapist to prolong their ability to treat clients at a high/ intense level for a longer duration.
- Cupping is used to take a regular deep therapy session to a more intense level
- When a client is ticklish in certain areas, cupping therapy will come in handy rather than to skip the ticklish areas.
SOME, but not ALL General Contradictions
- Cupping on pregnant women within the first 4 months of being pregnant—risk of miscarriage
Thereafter, lower back can be cupping until 6th month using light or medium method
- No cupping on feet & lower legs of patients that are diabetics—poor wound healing
- Do not cup over sunburns or burns in general
- Avoid open wounds, inflamed or infected tissue, recent trauma
- Never on a fracture or to a grade 3 muscle/ligament sprain as well as ligament rupture
- Do not cup on a client with an empty stomach
- Caution on individuals who suffer dehydration or dehydrated skin (elderly)
- Cupping of ANY kind for people who have suffered cardiac arrest within the last 6 months
- Not to be done on bleeding injury as well as internal bleeding
Have a Cupping Therapy Appointment coming up?
Follow these Dos & Don’ts
DO Drink plenty of water before your session and 24-48 hours after your session
DO eat one hour before your cupping session
DO Shower before appointment, as you shouldn’t shower up to 12 hours after
DON’T show up to a cupping treatment on an empty stomach
DON’T Drink alcohol up to 12-24 hours after any type of Massage ESP. Cupping as alcohol dehydrates
DON’T Exposure yourself to any intense change of temperatures 12-24 hours after a cupping treatment. (This includes showering, steam/sauna rooms, swimming, intense exercising)
DON’T Exercise 12-24 hours after Cupping session, pores will still be open, and we want to protect the skin from external pathogens.
Cupping Therapy can be beneficial for many purposes; including helping with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and overall well-being, classified as a deep-tissue massage. Cupping therapy is generally safe and has little side effects. However, there may still be side effects just like everything else today. Top two side effects are the visible effects/coloration on the body can last anywhere from 5-10 days depending on toxicity levels, blood stagnation, and YOUR water intake. If Cupping treatments are not done properly, blisters will occur, skin infections may arise, and burns can be caused from “Hot cups” this is during Fire Cupping only. (I do not do Fire Cupping, some Acupuncturists do). Keep in mind YOU MAY feel fatigued the day after a cupping appointment as your body processes the toxins being released. That is why it is so important to drink plenty of water to help eliminate those toxins from the body. Cupping can be done often, it is not suggested you do more then every 72 hours, as too much cupping can certainly overstimulate the skin, causing a negative effect.
Certified Cupping Licensed Massage Therapists, see equipment below:
This is an affordable, yet professional cupping set: “Premium Quality Cupping Set”
If you are just getting started or feel you need more practice, I would suggest practicing with this set of cups: “Bio magnetic Cupping Set”
At first, I thought it would be best to practice with silicone cups but to be honest I’ve found them a bit more challenging to work with. You have total control over the amount of suction brought to the cups itself. Also THIS specific set was given out during the on-site certification course. If you are one looking for a set of silicon cups, then I would suggest this cup set: “Silicone Cups”
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