Many people have heard about cupping – they see movie stars and athletes with those round-hickey like marks on their back and arms (these are left behind after the process for 2 to 7 days). Then, you have others who see these marks and say “what in the world are those,” and “what in the world is cupping?” If you are one of those who have been left out in the dark, here’s an explanation of cupping …
What is Cupping?
Cupping Therapy is an ancient Chinese method of massage. It’s a form of alternative medicine in which cups are placed on the skin and used to create suction in order to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation and activate lymphatic drainage which will remove toxins from your body. Some consider cupping to be the best deep tissue massage available.
How Cupping Works
Cupping works by creating a vacuum in a jar or cup – heat is sometimes used in order to create the vacuum. The cup is then applied to the skin where it pulls up the underlying tissue. The amount of suction all depends on the condition being treated – it can be mild or great. The cups can be moved (after oil has been applied to the skin), or they can be left over a particular area. For example, cupping can be placed and left over the lungs (for up to 10 minutes) in order to help ease breathing and to decongest the area. This form of therapy can also be used with acupuncture.
How Does it Feel?
When the cups are placed on your skin, you may feel a strong suction – most people find this relaxing. When you’re having the procedure done, close your eyes and imagine the pathogens being sucked from your body.
Different Types of Cupping
There are different forms of cupping, but the common ones include:
Moving Cupping – This form of cupping is exactly what it sounds like. Before the cups are placed on the body, the therapist will apply a lubricant to the area. After the cups have been placed on the body, the cups will be moved up and down. This form of cupping is traditionally used on the back – this will help reduce the stagnation that is in the body.
Fixed Cupping – This is when cupping is done on a specific region of the body (the cups may be left there for up to ten minutes). This is a strong treatment that creates a strong suction, so it isn’t recommended for those that have a weak constitution as it drains stagnation from the body.
Flash Cupping – This form of cupping is known for its speed. The therapist will place many cups all at once – the cups will be left on the body for a short amount of time (normally under one minute) before they are removed, then reapplied. This technique will take place for a couple of minutes and is great for stimulating the Qi along with the blood, but it isn’t enough to drain.
My Experience with Cupping
I had developed some problems with my shoulder. All of the muscles connected to it – lats, pecs, tri’s, bi’s, the delts – (everything!) had tendonitis. No doubt it was from overuse on my job. My shoulder became frozen. I had very little range of movement in any direction and it ached all the time. I decided to give cupping a try, to see if it might help.
The therapist applied several cups on and around my shoulder joint, with quite a bit of suction. It seemed to pull the muscles away from the joint. She then moved my arm through a full range of motion, with no pain at all. She also applied the cups to my back and neck and other areas. In all, the session was a little over an hour, and afterwards, I slept deeply for several hours.
It really did help to loosen up my shoulder joint, and remove stagnation from my body. I think it was the removal of the stagnation that allowed me to sleep so deeply. And surprisingly, even though I am quite fair-skinned, I had very few cup marks afterwards.
Cupping is used to treat many health issues, such as:
- Abdominal Pain
- Painful Periods
- Facial Paralysis from having a stroke
- Varicose Veins
- Treating Muscular and Joint Pain
- Other spiritual, physical or emotional imbalances
Now that you know what cupping is all about, you may want to go ahead and give it a try. There are definitely many benefits nesting behind this form of therapy.