Cupping Massage, or Suction Therapy, is a current, and popular wellness trend. It has been utilized by many celebrities and sports personalities such as Michael Phelps, the American swimmer and multiple gold medalist. However, Cupping Massage is, in fact, an ancient form of alternative manual therapy, which originated in China and the Middle East.
What is Cupping Massage?
Cupping massage is a process where a therapist places several cups, typically made of silicone or glass, on to certain regions of a patient’s skin, usually the back, neck, and arms. Once all the cups are in place, the therapist draws air out of the cups, causing a vacuum to be created within. This means that the skin, muscles, and fascia are pulled upwards into the cup and blood rushes to the surface of the skin, reddening it as the blood vessels expand. The therapist usually leaves the cups in place for around three minutes. Alternatively, they may slide the cups across the skin by the use of therapeutic oils. The movement of the cups traversing the surface of the skin can have a massage-like effective treatment. When the cups are removed, the patient is left with red, purple, bruise-like circles over the skin.
The ancient Chinese belief was to place the cups strategically somewhere along the five lines of meridian that the body processes. Then by creating suction to tug on the skin and fibers beneath, blood flow would be significantly increased, and this would help to align and relax ‘QI’ throughout the body. QI means life-force in Chinese. Relaxing QI was believed to ease many physical pains and illnesses. Basically, the cups were thought to bring balance to the body, in a ying-yang, harmony sense.
In modern therapy, the lines of meridian are not employed. Instead, the therapist identifies an area of the body, which they believe is causing the patient some restriction and pain. They then apply the cup directly to that area. This is a much more focused approach. Modern therapists believe it is best to force the change where the patient needs it most.
Types of cupping
- There are two types of cupping:
- Dry cupping, which is a suction only method.
- It can have an intensely relaxing effect due to the fact that the suction of the cups provides a negative pressure to the area it is being used on, promoting a deep massage within the bodily tissues.
- Cupping increases the flow of blood by forcing new blood to the targeted area. This means that circulation is improved, and therefore, oxygen is moved around the body and muscles more efficiently. This speeds up the muscle’s ability to repair themselves. Cupping makes an excellent therapy for athletes, due to it being spot targeted, and can stimulate the energies within the body.
- Cupping warms the skin, and this can make it easier for a masseuse to work out any tightness in the muscles by use of a typical massage after the cups have been employed. This means that the treatment is extended longer than a usual massage and has the outcome of it being much more effective.
- Cupping can also be used to reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints.
- It has been used to reduce the appearance of muscle scarring as well.
Wet cupping, which is a little more involved, and can include both suction and a controlled surgical cutting of the skin. Basically, in wet cupping, the therapist can puncture the skin with a knife before the procedure and this means that some blood is extracted while the cups are in place. The belief is that toxins and stress leave the body more easily this way.
How is air removed from the cups
The vacuum within the cups can be created by the therapist using a rubber hand pump. Alternatively, the therapist will heat the cup up by filling it with flammable substances, including alcohol, herbs, paper, or cotton wool, and setting it on fire. Once the cup is heated to the appropriate degree, the fire is taken out. The therapist then places the warm cup on to the skin. As the cup cools down, the vacuum is created, causing the skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand.
What is the sensation of cupping like?
Cupping is not painful and actually feels as though you are having a deep intense massage. The sensation has been described as a release.
Why use cupping massage
There is a wide range of benefits to the use of cupping massage on the body. Although it is typically used to treat muscle aches and pains. However, listed here are the ways it can have a healing effect:
The circular bruises
A good cupping therapist will be able to use the areas of discoloration formed by the suction of the cups as a form of diagnostic tool. The particular color the skin goes can reveal a lot about any underlying conditions the patient may have. For example, a darker patch could indicate a restriction, and therefore the therapist is aware that this area needs extra work during the physical massage phase.
A lot of customers use the cupping massage technique in order to help them relieve the physical symptoms of stress. If you do suffer from stress, then a cupping massage in Provo will work wonders for you. It aids the body in the detoxification process, which means that stress can leave that way. Cupping is a great therapy to combine with other techniques such as acupuncture. Together these two techniques will not only help the body manage the physical symptoms of stress, but they will help ease the mental manifestations of stress even more effectively in combination.
Book an appointment
If you feel like you could make use of the cupping technique, then cupping massage is for you. Please contact Hands Massage Spa today and book an appointment. We are here to make life just a little more relaxed and painless.