Cupping therapy is an alternative therapeutic method that has been popular in China since 1000 B.C. In China, cupping therapy is believed to promote the flow of energy through the body and is considered a special healing skill that is often passed down from one generation to another.
The therapy involves placing cups on an affected area (often the back) using heat and suction - as a heated cup is placed on the skin, a vacuum creates suction of the skin causing upward pressure and lifts muscles, blood vessels, and capillaries to the surface to relieve tension.
Cupping has been around for centuries, but only recently has it become very popular thanks to top-notch olympians, like Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin, who practice cupping to reduce muscle tension, speed up recovery and improve overall performance.
Cupping massage is like a deep tissue massage, but in reverse
How many times have you felt so tight that the massage therapist could stand on the table and it still would not feel deep enough? That is because the only way to truly affect the tissue on a deeper level is not with more pressure. It comes with working on the connective tissue that wraps around every organ, muscle, nerve and blood vessel - the fascia. Cupping is one way to experience deep tissue massage more comfortably with greater benefits to the deeper layers. It literally unwinds the fascia, giving you more flexibility and less pain.
The silicone cups we use are flexible and easy to apply and do not require heat or flame as compared to glass cupping to create a vacuum. The cups can be applied to different areas of the body with a small application of oil to get a proper seal and the suction can easily be adjusted to the client’s comfort level. After sitting on the skin for a while, the cups can then be moved very slowly over the area of pain to create a “stretch” in the fascia and to focus circulation to that particular area, drawing out toxins and releasing stagnated blood.
Benefits of cupping massage
Helps reduce pain, muscle tension, and inflammation
Cupping massage targets soft tissue by applying local pressure to pain points and areas of swelling. As blood flow increases within vessels and capillaries, tissues receive much-needed nutrients and oxygen. Cupping stimulates tissue relaxation and better cell-to-cell communication. The research of U.S. physiologist and acupuncturist Helene Langevin has documented cell-level changes using an ultrasound camera. She has demonstrated that techniques like cupping, acupuncture, and massage relax tissue and reduce markers of inflammation. Inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers) are reduced, and cytokines that promote healing and relaxation are increased.
Helps reduce stress and anexity by promoting relaxation and better sleep
When our body goes into stress mode, our muscles react by going into spasms and stiffening. This is what causes the feeling of tension in our neck, shoulders, and back. Cupping massage helps lift pressure from tense muscles, and this relaxation effect is also extended to the nervous system, which restores the sense of calm and promotes a better sleep.
The use of cups allows for the stretching and opening of muscle tissue, creating space to drain toxins from body cells into the lymphatic system. Our body naturally does that, but cupping is a catalyst to give that natural detoxification process a boost.
Cellulite and anti-aging benefits
Cupping helps stretch and relax the hardened connective tissue beneath the skin, increasing elasticity and helping reduce the dimpled appearance of cellulite. It also promotes healthy circulation of nutrient-rich blood, rejuvenating the skin and underlying tissues. Finally, cupping stimulates the flow of lymph, part of your body’s natural detoxification system. This helps dissipate fluid retention that emphasizes the appearance of cellulite.
Adding cupping massage to a facial treatmet helps to boost anti-aging effects, such as wrinkles preventing and reducing visible fine lines by bringing more nutrients to the skin, and as such, promoting younger looking skin and giving your face a glowing appearance.
During a cupping session, it’s common to feel some heat and tightness around the cup, but many people find this to be relaxing and soothing. While cupping is generally considered safe for most healthy adults, it should be avoided by people experiencing a skin infection, certain blood disorders, ulcer or sensitivity. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women and cancer patients.
It is common to develop some skin discoloration after cupping, which can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.