This technique consists of placing glass or silicon jars, or cups, over an area of skin. The jars are then either heated or used in a suction manner to create a vacuum, drawing up the skin and opening the pores. The suction created helps stimulate the flow of blood, balance and harmonize the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the area. On occasion, temporary discoloration can occur over the area where the cups are applied, which generally dissipates within a few days. Light red indicates heat and inflammation, purple means blood is not flowing through the muscles. Cupping is indicated of conditions like muscle pain and tightness, colds with fluid accumulation, and swelling.
Cupping Therapy Used Today
There are several different types of cups used today. The most popular type is fire cupping, which involves the use of glass cups. A cotton ball, soaked in alcohol, is lit to produce a large flame, which is then quickly placed inside the cup. This action removes all the oxygen inside of the cup. The cup is then quickly placed on the skin, creating a vacuum to draw the skin within the cup. For those individuals who may not be comfortable with the use of flame, there are silicone and plastic cups that use manual suction to provide the same results.
How Cupping Therapy works
Cupping therapy creates negative pressure, rather than the tissue compression or positive pressure used in traditional massage. By creating negative pressure, cupping releases rigid soft tissue, drains excess fluids and toxins, loosens adhesions, lifts connective tissue and brings blood flow to stagnant skin and muscles. As the toxins are brought to the surface a cupping “mark” will appear in colors ranging from a dark purple to a light pink, but is usually a shade of red. These discolorations are not bruises but are simply a reflection of the stagnation in the area being treated.
Cupping therapy benefits the skin, muscles, circulatory system, nervous system, digestive system and joints of the body. Pain relief is quick, and long-term injuries and restrictions can be released in one or a few treatments. Cupping has been known to alleviate very acute injuries, pinched nerves, frozen shoulders and chronically tight muscles. Cupping is also very beneficial for many conditions such as high blood pressure, sciatica, insomnia, chronic headaches, colon disorders, anxiety, fatigue, poor circulation, edema, and sports injuries.
What to expect during and after a Cupping Therapy Session
A typical cupping therapy session lasts thirty minutes. The treatment is discussed between therapist and client and tailored to their specific needs. Cupping therapy is very relaxing and sometimes even sedative. With some treatments there can be mild discomfort and itching when working on areas with severe stagnation and tight fascia. The marks involved with cupping will go away in a few hours to 2 weeks depending on the amount of stagnation. Drinking an ample amount of water is recommended for 48-hours following your treatment.