In recent years cupping has been growing in popularity, with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, David Arquette, and athlete Michael Phelps drawing public attention to the traditional Chinese therapy technique.
It seems trendy now, but it’s not something new. Cupping is one of the oldest forms of manual therapy stretching back through the mists of times and finding its place in the modern world of healing.
In Western world cupping is mostly used as direct clinical application, different to traditional Eastern methods which work on affecting change in the line of meridians or “Qi” throughout the body.
Known as massage cupping body therapy, this modified version creates suction and negative pressure through the use of stationary cups, sliding cups, or vaccum machines. The cups can remain in position for some minutes, or the therapist can glide them over the skin producing effects compared to a deep tissue massage with a pulling versus a pushing effect.
If you are experiencing musculoskeletal pain, there is an increasing inflammation process taking place in that specific area. Cupping negative pressure increases blood flow attracting immune cells to that specific location, therefore speeding up the repair and recovery process, reducing inflammation, improving lymphatic flow, relieving muscle tension, releasing tissue restrictions, and trigger points. Increase local circulation.
DOES IT LEAVE UNSIGHTLY DARK CIRCLES ON THE SKIN?
Yes, it’s likely that there may be a resulting reddening of the skin depending upon the health of the underlying tissue. Massage cupping therapy marks are not bruises. Bruises are caused by impact trauma leading to breakage of capillaries and a rush of healing fluids to the damaged area causing coagulation and pain. There is no impact compression in massage cupping therapy. Cupping marks are the result of having internal issues pulled up to the skin, do not cause pain, and tend to disappear in a couple of days or a week. Prior to treatment, a good therapist will explain the potential effect of cupping on the skin and ask for consent.
Contrary to the commonly-held impression, massage cupping therapy does not hurt. In fact, the suction creates a unique sensation that doesn't compare to anything you may have experienced before. Most people will find the sensation very pleasant. Cupping has a sedating effect on the nervous system, so you may find it profoundly relaxing. After a massage cupping therapy, clients usually report feeling muscular “knots” release, pain relieve, and increasing flexibility.
SAFETY AND CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR CUPPING
Most experts agree that cupping is safe. As long as those treated don't mind the eventual circular discolorations or marks (which fade over a number of days or weeks), side effects tend to be limited to that. Massage cupping therapy is however contraindicated in cases of severe diseases, such as cardiac failure, renal failure, ascites due to hepato-cirrhosis and severe edema, as well as hemorrhagic diseases such as allergic pupura, hemophilia and leukemia, and clients with dermatosis, destruction of skin, or allergic dermatitis. Cupping should not be applied on the portion where hernia exists or has occurred in the past. For pregnant women, the lower abdomen, medial leg and lumbosacral region should be avoided.