I have to admit, when I first learned about cupping I was more than skeptical, I was seriously freaked out by it! I had a few clients tell me some horror stories about experiences they had, and then I got on the internet… which completely freaked me out….
You know the pictures you find when you hit the google search. Looks like something out of medieval times with tremendous welts and blood oozing. Lots of bruising, and you think wow, this can’t be good for a person and I pretty much decided I was not going to get involved in that kind of work… Keep reading though…
LOL now that I have given you a proper image of what I was finding online, through taking Medical Massage I came to understand the importance of researching further because the popular images you see online really do not give you an accurate picture of Massage Cupping.
I have these wonderful mentors who are great at introducing the students to new and innovative methods of creating an effective massage. During my Medical Massage Certification I discovered a method that would change the way I tackled so many difficult problem areas with clients. We were shown how to use this amazing device to create a negative pressure allowing blood flow to the site while releasing tension and stress.
I learned quickly that the aggressive methods I had found online were thankfully not in my scope of practice as drawing blood does not fit with a Massage therapist, we will leave that kind of stuff to acupuncturists and phlebotomists. 😉 Instead I discovered a gentle method to raise up the dermis and fascia allowing the blood and toxins to find their way to the surface and be taken out by the lymphatic system. Cupping done properly assists the enhanced blood flow to create a better healing environment. Cupping can go up to 4″ deep and believe me, you really do not want your massage therapist to attempt that kind of deep tissue work without a cupping tool. Below are a couple of items a lot of people have heard and even myself when I didn’t know much about cupping had thought, along with the appropriate correction.
Myth: Cupping marks are bruises. This is simply a myth as a bruise is caused by impact breaking capillaries and creating damage that the system has to work overtime to repair. As a bruise heals it turns yellow indicating healing. With Cupping we are creating a negative pressure, so no impact wound. the purpleing that occurs is simply toxins being released and brought to the surface. The really amazing part is that the more often you assist the body with cupping the less of the purpleing you will see.
Myth: cupping will draw blood – There are treatments, not done by massage therapists called blood letting. these methods have been used for centuries and actually produce a controlled bleeding thought to allow better flow of blood and cleansing of the blood to promote better health. – As a Massage Therapist a cupping tool is never left in one spot longer than 3-5 min. and our tools are really not going to create that type of aggressive suction to draw blood. Acupuncturists however, also use cupping in conjunction with needles to produce a more effective result.
Myth: Cupping is a newly discovered form of treatment – Actually Cupping has been around for centuries. Evidence of cupping has been found all over the world with the oldest evidence dating back to ancient Egypt. It is possible to say it is a newly Re-discovered method although probably only in America as other countries such as China have retained this incredible method all along.
Myth: Cupping can be dangerous. When working with the body, even massage can be dangerous when performed by an untrained individual. In our training in our vast array of modalities, we learn contraindications for each modality we apply. For instance, in Massage, varicose veins are a contraindication for massage therapy. As a massage therapist I really like to see anyone who uses cupping for personal use have a class to be trained. When I educate my clients for home use I am giving them training, but for a limited use. such as for releasing of particular muscles or decreasing cellulite. Because the lay person does not have training in anatomy we really want to avoid having them use cupping on contraindicated areas. The best method to have cupping done is to have a licensed professional preform that modality for you
Myth: Cupping involves lighting a fire – There are those who love traditional cupping and use a match to create a vacuum inside a glass bulb. As a massage therapist it is not within my scope of practice to utilize this method, but I am completely great with that, as I love modern technology that allows me what I feel is better control with an air pump, or silicone, or even a rubber bulb attached to a glass cup.
All in all Cupping has proven to be very useful to those we have worked on who have reported back that the treatment decreased pain and discomfort. we have seen it actually improve health as a few have described relief from congestion and sinus pressure. we have also had reports back of decreased evidence of cellulite and inches. and increase in circulation. We also love using cupping to assist in providing a natural face lift by relieving pressure in the muscles and lymphatic system.
We love the different forms of cupping. Most of the time your massage therapist will use techniques of cupping such as gliding cupping meaning the cups are continually moving. Stationary, which leaves the cup to sit in one spot for 3-5 min or the static which we suction and release several times along the muscle to release the tension. As always be sure to communicate your comfort level to your Massage Therapist for the best results.