Cupping is a treatment that has been around for thousands of years. It has been used in many cultures for pain relief, enhancing circulation and helping to remove toxins from the tissues. It is also known to help colds, allergies and even anxiety.
During cupping, the body’s self-healing mechanisms are stimulated by the increase in blood flow, oxygen and nutrients. Stagnation and congestion in the tissues is also reduced. Cupping loosens adhesions (knots), softens muscles and fascia, and is even said to help improve the appearance of cellulite!
In traditional fixed cupping, an object such as cotton soaked in alcohol, is lit on fire and inserted into the cup and removed. A vacuum is created when the air in the cup cools. Some modern day cups have a suction pump to create the vacuum which raises the skin and underlying tissues into the cup. The client feels a pulling or tightening sensation. The cups are often left on the skin for a period of time which can result in the skin becoming discolored. This is due to the increased blood flow to an injured or energetically blocked area. The area looks like it has a perfectly round bruise but it does not hurt.
Soft silicone cups are used in moving cupping. The practitioner uses a gliding motion. She can feel which areas need attention by how the cups drag and resist movement. This method usually does not cause discoloration of the skin.
Both types of cupping can be incorporated into a massage. The pull on the tissues created from the vacuum has the same effect as a deep tissue massage without the discomfort. Many massage therapists are learning this modality as a way to get results for their clients without the associated strain and sometimes pain on their own bodies.
As with any new therapy, consult with your doctor if you are undergoing treatment for a medical issue or if you have any health concerns.