Cupping therapy has received a lot of attention lately as a tool used by several Olympic athletes. Did you know the massage therapists at Body of Work Wellness offer cupping therapy? Read on for more info!
Amber shares her own cupping experience:
Regular ( Compression based ) massage didn't give me any relief from my chronic back pain and headaches. The massage might feel good, although sometime it was just plain painful, but I would start to hurt again within a few hours. My massage instructor recommended cupping for me and I stayed late after class one day to receive my first treatment. It was like she took a straight jacket off my muscles that I didn't even know was there! I I knew I was hurting but I hadn't realized how hard I was working just to move around! With my new freedom of movement I realized how I had been fighting my own fascial tension. It wasn't a pain free transition, the cupping had been intense and I had been so toxic that I felt sick the next day or two as all the gunk that had been released worked it's way out of my system. For me the price was well worth it! I immediately sought out classes and have been practicing cupping for years with awesome results for my clients and myself. I am headache free and able to manage my back pain with occasional cupping. I tell my clients who have lost hope and have resigned themselves to being in pain to give this a try.
We saw cupping at the 2012 summer Olympics as well, but mostly with the Chinese team. It was dismissed at the time as one of those weird Chinese medicine things. ( although we have found evidence of cupping in many ancient cultures). I'm very excited to see Cupping gaining attention and credibility. If massage hasn't worked for you in the past, this modality is very different. Cupping works on creating space and movement instead of compressing muscles that are already tight and stuck. If you are in pain, please don't believe that you have to stay that way. Cupping may or may not be the answer but it's worth a try!
What is cupping?
Cupping is the application of glass or silicone cups, with either the use of a heat source or plain suction. The traditional way has been using flame to quickly burn the oxygen out of the cup to create a vacuum. It is then quickly applied to the skin, creating a suction that pulls the tissue into the cup. Modern designs in silicone or using hand pumps can negate the use of flame, although the suction can be less. Either static or moving cups can be used. Static cups are when the cups are applied, and left in one location on the skin. Moving cups is when lubrication is applied, and the cups are then glided on the skin. In either case, the physical benefits include increased circulation, pulling apart stuck layers of connective and muscle tissue, and a relaxation of tight muscles.
Does it hurt?
The application of the cups does not hurt. Sometimes the sudden suction as the cup grabs onto the skin can be slightly startling. However, as long as you have experienced deep tissue massage, you will be ready for cupping. Areas holding more tension or that have a large adhesion will be more sensitive, just as you would experience in deep tissue massage.
The dark purple circles that are synonymous with cupping are called “sha.” Contrary to what you might think, they are not bruises, but rather stagnated toxins, blood, lymph, etc. pulled to the surface, where capillaries can then properly dissipate them. They do not hurt, and often leave in within a couple days. However, on some people with light complexions they can stay longer. The more tension an area is holding, the darker the Sha will be. It’s common that as you continue to get treatment, the sha each time will be lighter, and clear faster.
Who should get cupping?
Everyone! The benefits are numerous, and once someone has tried it, they are usually a convert. Especially if you have areas of tension or adhesion that regular massage modalities are not benefitting to your satisfaction. Cupping is also helpful with digestion issues and stress. Unlike massage, cupping is also helpful with colds and pneumonia, although always check with your LMT before coming to an appointment sick.
The same precautions apply to cupping as deep tissue massage, so if you have been told you can’t have deep tissue than cupping wouldn’t be for you.
This blog is a combined effort of practitioners to keep you informed.