Body Cupping Massage
A therapist performs cupping by placing cups on the patient’s skin that create suction. Traditionally, the suction is created by putting a flammable substance in the cup, lighting it, then extinguishing the flame and turning the cup upside down on the skin. As the warm air in the cup cools, it creates a vacuum effect, pulling the skin and tissue into the cup and increasing blood flow to the area. Cups are left in place for three to five minutes. Some modern therapists use a pump instead of fire to create the suction, but the effect is the same.
How many methods are there?
There are two common methods used for cupping: Dry and wet. Dry cupping is just as described above, while wet cupping involves another step. After removing the cup, the therapist makes tiny, shallow incisions on the skin and then replaces the cup for a second round of suction. This draws some blood to the surface. The intent is to promote healing by releasing toxins and harmful substances from the body.
Why use cupping?
Cupping may be used as a complementary therapy to treat a medical condition or to promote relaxation and stress relief. These are some of the most common ailments that cupping has been used to treat:
Acne and eczema
Blood disorders like hemophilia or anemia
Allergies and related respiratory issues like asthma
Depression and anxiety
It is also used to achieve deep tissue massage, relieve pain and promote overall well-being.
Are there side effects?
Cupping is considered a safe treatment, but patients may experience some side effects like mild discomfort, bruising and swelling at the site where the cups were placed. A clean environment and a therapist trained in cupping can reduce the risk of any more serious complications like burns or skin infection.
Is cupping therapy painful?
No, not really. The cups are applied pretty tight for stationary cupping, therefore they can create a suction-like feel—think of it as if you were to apply the hose of a running vacuum to your skin.
We also do a sliding or moving form of cupping. This is where we apply oil to the skin, and then we place the cups and move them around while they still have suction to your skin. This form of cupping can sometimes be a bit more uncomfortable for patients, but it’s a quick treatment and very effective for releasing fascia [the sheet of connective tissue beneath the skin]. The most painless form of cupping is called “twinkle” or “pop” cupping. It can be performed with or without any suction to the skin. The cup is pressed on to the skin and quickly removed with a slight twist action to create a “pop” sound. This is done repetitively for a few minutes.