Cupping therapy is a powerful modality rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is used to increase blood circulation, remove toxins, relieve pain and even activate the immune system.
Cupping has most recently gained popularity but the history of this therapy dates as far back in medical text written in 1550 BC. Cupping is most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine however it is widely used in many parts of the world where conventional medicine is not as accessible and in many bodywork practices today.
How does cupping work? The negative pressure increases local blood circulation extending deep down to muscle layers, helping cells in the area repair faster. The increase in local blood circulation will also increase granulation and angiogenesis, the new development of tissue and blood vessels during the healing process. This is powerful work that aids in healing soft tissue injury, reducing tension and even improving pain.
We hear about toxins often, in our environment and even trapped in the body. Cupping has been shown to remove toxins as we increase blood circulation, bringing the unwanted toxins to the surface where our white blood cells quickly go to work.
There are many different types of cups, each with unique materials and techniques for use and application. Glass cups are most widely used by TCM practitioners and will include fire to heat and suction the cup. Plastic vacuum cups are applied with a hand pump allowing you to create light to strong suction. Silicone cups are very flexible and applied by pushing down against the skin and commonly used in my practice to glide along areas of tension and along large muscle groups such as the erector spinae.
Is cupping safe? Cupping is generally very safe with low treatment risk. The most common side effect is marking made by the cups however if weak cupping is applied little to no marking will be visible after treatment. Cupping is considered a contraindication for areas where there are major arteries, areas of open sores, areas of edema, for individuals with fever and for those with bleeding disorders or on blood thinners. Please note - this is not a complete list of cautions and contraindications.
Although the visual markings from cupping can seem scary this therapy should not cause pain. During treatment you may feel tightness where cups are applied, however there should be no severe discomfort. Many of my clients explain the feeling of relief when the cups are applied to an area of tension and increased mobility after the cups are removed.
Cupping is offered by many massage therapists, physical therapists and chiropractic practitioners. This ancient therapy can be a great compliment to your current treatment plan. Cupping can be added to any session at Sakom Massage & Wellness.
Stephanie McCutchin is a Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of Sakom Massage and Wellness. The word Sakom is inspired by the Menominee language and translates to extending peace to yourself and others. Creating a peaceful space for clients to relax, recharge, and recuperate is the main focus at Sakom. To learn more about massage and to book your appointment today call, 608-564-5330 or click here.