Cupping is a treatment method that has withstood the test of time. It originated over 5,000 years ago in Chinese Medicine and its longevity is a testament to its effectiveness. During the 2016 Olympics cupping increased its popularity when the U.S. swimmers were seen with circular markings on their shoulders and back from treatment.
How does it work?
Cupping is different than all other types of treatment in that it provides a suctioning of the skin, fascia and muscles. The mechanism of treatment is essentially opposite to a deep tissue massage. This is one of the reasons that Dr. Abbie believes that patient's respond so well. It is unlike anything else the body has experienced.
As you can see by the picture above there is a pump that allows the air to be sucked out of the cup and the response is that the skin is pulled up through the cup. This helps to:
- Relax and loosen the muscles and fascia
- Increase blood and lymph flow to the area, which helps promote healing
- Release toxins and lactic acid
- Decrease pain and inflammation
- Promote relaxation
- Stimulate Chinese acupuncture points
- Improve over-all health and wellness
Now that you know a little more about what cupping actually does here are a list of common conditions that respond well to cupping:
- Back & Neck Pain
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Pain & Tightness
- Respiratory Conditions & Colds
- High Blood Pressure
For the majority of clients Dr. Abbie starts with gliding cupping. This is where she will glide the cups throughout the area of concern. To do this she starts with spreading either Ortho Sport or Relaxation massage oil over the skin. It helps to create a good suction between the cup and skin, provides a good gliding surface and the essential oils help to relax and/or reduce pain. This takes about 10 minutes.
After Dr. Abbie is done gliding the cups she will then place them on the skin as seen in the picture above for 5-10 minutes. The length of time they remain on has to do with how much reaction occurs. To learn more about why the skin changes color please look below to common questions section.
How long does a session last?
The treatment itself takes about 20 minutes, but I recommend you prepare to be here for 30 minutes total.
Does it hurt?
Dr. Abbie has found that some people are very sensitive, while others are not. The treatment is not intend to cause pain and that is why she always asks that you tell her if you are experiencing too much pain so she can reduce the intensity by decreasing the amount of suction.
Commonly during the treatment people will report that certain areas feel really good and then when Dr. Abbie glides to another area it can become uncomfortable. The increase in discomfort is a signal to Dr. Abbie that this is an area of concern.
Why does the skin change color?
The biggest misunderstanding by many is the markings that are left from the treatment. It is not a bruise. Instead, it is called petechiae, which is a natural response the body makes from the treatment. The blood vessels expand from the cupping leaving colors varying from light pink, to purple or even black. The more change in skin color is indicative of blood stagnation, dysfunction and toxins in the area.
How long do the markings last?
As for how long the markings will last it depends on the person. The first treatment is usually where a person gets the most response and takes the longest for the markings to go away. If the area is light pink they should go away in a couple days to a week. If they are dark be prepares for them to last for 2-3 weeks. That is why if you have an event such as a wedding coming up you will want to schedule accordingly.
Is there anything I should do before of after treatment?
Prior Treatment: Dr. Abbie recommends that you eat well, drink lots of water so that you are hydrated, be well rested if possible, and if it is cold outside please make sure to dress warm so that the area treated is covered when you leave.
After Treatment: make sure to drink lots of water because many toxins will be released into the bloodstream. Also, if it is cold outside please keep the area covered for the rest of the day. Lastly, be prepared to be very relaxed and possibly lethargic. Don't be surprised if you feel the need for a quick afternoon power nap.
What do you mean by stimulate acupuncture points?
To learn more about acupuncture feel free to visit our acupuncture page, but the basic premise is that our body has an natural flow of energy. Specifically there are 12 different channels, also known as meridians that energy flows through. If that energy becomes stagnant it can produce pain, disease, dysfunction, etc. By stimulating acupuncture points you can help get energy flowing properly through your body, which results in decreased pain, disease, and dysfunction.