The use of cupping by therapists is on the rise in the United States. It has become increasing popular in Western cultures due to athletes, such as Michael Phelps, who has been seen with the distinctive circular marks that accompany it. Chinese and Middle Eastern countries have used cupping therapy for thousands of years as a way to relieve pain, increase circulation, and aid in relaxation.
Cupping is essentially the reverse of massage therapy. In massage, the therapist kneads and pushes into the muscles to release the adhesion or “knot”. In cupping, suction is applied to the cup, usually made of plastic, silicone, glass or bamboo, to create a vacuum that draws the tissue up into it. The constant upward “pressure” allows the adhesions in the muscles to release and draws blood towards the surface of the skin creating pink, red, or purple marks. Such marks are not bruises (bruising is a result of damaged tissue) and generally fade in a few days to a few weeks.
The cups can be used as a part of a massage therapy session or by itself. Cups can be stationary or the therapist can move them around on the skin. Treatments are shorter in length at first working up to a point where the cups can be left on the body for up to 20 minutes. The client will feel pressure, but should not feel any pain during a treatment. Therapists that provide cupping should be licensed to do so. Cupping is not recommended for those who are: on any type of blood thinning medication, pregnant, have open sores or irritated skin conditions, or have cancer.
Benefits of cupping therapy include: increased skin health, aids in relieving respiratory conditions, improves digestion, relieves headaches, strengthens the immune system, and relieves muscle tension and pain.
We provide cupping therapy in our office. Call us to find out more or to schedule an appointment.
Karina Levy LMT