Massage Cupping is a versatile and ancient tool that can be modified to accomplish a whole range to techniques from lymphatic drainage to fascial and deep tissue release. This modality uses negative pressure, creating either light suction for drainage, or heavier suction to lift connective tissue, loosen adhesions, soften tight muscles and tone attachments.
In traditional Chinese Cupping, the cups stay in place for 5-15 min, however, they may also be moved over the area. Stationary cupping may leave circular markings on the skin similar looking to a hickey. These are not bruises , rather discoloration. The goal of this approach is to remove stagnation of blood and chi, release trapped (internal) heat , draw out toxins and treat pain, respiratory problems and other conditions.
Massage Cupping is a different approach in that the cups continually move over the area. The therapist will apply lotion or oil before the treatment to ensure smooth movement of the cups. Almost every area of the body responds well to this treatment. Tense muscles are softened quickly and adhesions loosened easily. With massage or slide cupping, generally no marks are left behind, however there may be some occasional mild discoloration.
To most people the treatment feels GREAT. It is certainly a sensation unlike any other, and may feel different depending on the area of the body and they type of condition it is being used to address. The sensation during cupping is often described as a deep warmth and or tingling sensation which continues long after treatment. There may be some discomfort in other areas that are stuck and opening up. The discomfort is temporary and will subside when the cup is lifted off.
Important:You should make your practitioner aware of any health conditions which need to be handled gently. If you are uncertain ask your doctor if it is okay for you to receive cupping.
What are those marks that cupping leaves? In traditional (Chinese) cupping the marks left after a treatment are a desired effect of the treatment. They are not bruises it is a discoloration that will dissipate and fade anywhere from a few hours to a few days after treatment. With massage cupping, the marks are less likely to occur but you may still find an occasional “cupping kiss” left behind.
What do I do after treatment? For a few (4 to 6) hours after treatment avoid exposure to extreme heat or cold, (chill or drafts, hot showers or saunas), rigorous exercise and stay sufficiently hydrated. Alcohol is not recommended for 24 hours after treatment.
Benefits of Cupping:
drains and moves fluids
Sedates nervous system
stretched muscle and connective tissue
brings nourishing blood supply to the skin
poor circulation (stimulated locally)
insomnia and general anxiety
sluggish devitalized skin
Remember:You should make your practitioner aware of any health conditions which need to be handled gently. If you are uncertain ask your doctor if it is okay for you to receive cupping.
Sara illig is certified in Ace Massage Cupping Therapy.