CAN CUPPING HELP ME?
Cupping is best know for its pain relieving and inflammation reducing capabilities.
In addition, it is also used for:
boosting the immune system
releasing tight neck/shoulders
speeding up healing post-injury or surgery
calming the nervous system
HOW DOES CUPPING WORK?
Cupping uses negative pressure (like a vacuum) to decompress tissues, increase blood circulation, circulate lymphatic flow and engage the parasympathetic (rest/digest) nervous system.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CUPPING?
1. FIRE CUPPING
Thousands of years ago they used buffalo horns and fire in order to create the negative pressure in the cup. Today there are still many people who use fire along with glass cups to create that pressure to lift the tissues and relieve pain. I often use fire cups for larger areas like the glutes or the legs or when someone experiences "cold" in the body.
2. GLASS PUMP CUPS
The newer version of cupping involves using a hand pump instead of fire to create pressure. This allows us to change the pressure more easily and without the potential hazard of fire. I mainly use these in combination with the fire cups.
3. PLASTIC PUMP CUPS
This is a very popular option with many acupuncturists although my personal preference is the glass pump cups because you're able to use them with oil to slide the cups up and down the back. In addition, glass is less permeable than plastic and you're able to use a higher grade disinfectant to clean the cups.
HOW LONG DO THE MARKS LAST?
The marks can last anywhere from a few days up to two weeks. Your first time getting cupped often leaves darker marks for longer. With continued treatment (once a week or every other week), they are less colorful and fade faster. Dark marks are indicative of something we call "blood stagnation". You can think of this as poor circulation either due to injury or tight muscles restricting blood flow. By decompressing the tissues we increase blood to the area, stimulate hemolysis, and relieve inflammation.
DOES CUPPING CAUSE BRUISING OR SKIN DAMAGE?
The initial redness from cupping is a histamine response and will disappear quickly. The dark red marks created from cupping are due to broken capillary vessels at the surface level and are a sign of local congestion or blood stagnation. This can be caused by tight or constricted muscles or an old injury that has trapped old, deoxygenated blood cells (hence the purplish color). Cupping helps to increase blood circulation to flush out the old blood and circulate new fresh blood. This is not a true bruise nor does it damage the skin.
DOES IT HURT?
The beauty of using cups with pumps is that we are able to easily change the tightness of the cups, allowing accommodation to each individuals pain tolerance. Most people compare the sensation to a deep tissue massage and feel that it relieves the pain for longer.
Cupping has a sedating effect on the nervous system and most people find it incredibly relaxing. After a cupping treatment, clients typically report feelings of relief, muscular release, lightness, pleasant tingling, and freedom from pain and an increase in flexibility and muscular control. Contracted, tense and painful muscle tissue will soften quickly with just a few minutes of cupping.
CAN IT BE USED ON PREGNANT WOMEN?
If you have a history of miscarriages, it is recommended to avoid cupping for the first trimester as it can be a stimulating treatment. Cupping on the lower abdomen, medial leg and low back are also avoided during pregnancy
CAN I EXERCISE AFTER CUPPING?
As with most forms of treatment, exercise is not recommended. Rest is a good way to let the treatment settle into the body but if there is no other choice, a light exercise routine is recommended.