I absolutely love cupping – for so many different reasons! I will tell you why I love it so much in a bit, but first… what exactly is cupping?
What is it?
Cupping is a modality that is associated with acupuncture and traditional Chinese
medicine. The first documented treatment with cupping dates back to 300AD. It includes using a glass, bamboo, or metal jar – I use glass- and creating suction with it to then be placed on the skin. The suction is created by lighting an alcohol swab, putting fire into the cup, and then removing the fire and quickly placing the cup on the skin – therefor effectively suctioning to your skin. But don’t worry, the flame is never near the skin or the patient nor is it lit throughout the duration of the cupping session. It is common to get marks from the cups – this is good! Coloring can vary from a bit darker than skin color to dark purple depending on the pathology. The discoloration is temporary and can last from minutes to several days.
What are the different types of cupping?
There are a number of different techniques when it comes to cupping but the ones I use most common in clinic are retain, slide, and bleed cupping.
Retain cupping is when the cup is placed on the skin in a specific area and is left
for a certain amount of time. Usually between 10-15 minutes. Whereas slide cupping is gently moving the cups across the skin. Bleed cupping is using a lancet to make a small incision in a specific area and placing the cup over the incision. This can be extremely beneficial for certain pathologies – I have found with sacroiliac joint pain it is very useful.
There are so many wonderful reasons to use cupping. A few include:
- Muscle Tension: The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layr to be lightly pulled up into the cup. Cupping is wonderful in that it is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward.
- Common Cold: Similar to Gua Sha, cupping can be effective to help overcome a common cold. By placing cups over specific acupuncture points on the back it will help remove the cold from the body.
- Respiratory Conditions: Similar to treatment for the common cold, the cups would be placed over specific acupuncture points. It can help control a patients asthma and
other respiratory issues.
Cupping therapy is not for pregnant women and patients who bleed easily and/or cannot stop bleeding. In addition, cups should not be applied to areas of the body with skin ulcers, edema, infection or large blood vessels. Everyone else, enjoy!
At Goodsense, in Stettler, you can now book a 30minute session for just cupping! A great alternative to acupuncture for muscle tension if needles concern you or if you are looking for a shorter treatment session.