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What is Cupping?

Cupping is a form of therapy that originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. It has been used in the West for decades to encourage healing. Different cupping methods have been developed throughout history, including the "dry" stationary cupping technique, where cups are placed on the skin for 5-10 minutes to create suction, or the sliding technique where the cups are moved over the area of concern or pain.

How does Massage Cupping work?

While massage works by compressing the muscle tissue, cupping works by lifting the tissues. The suction used in cupping therapy creates a negative pressure or a decrease in atmospheric pressure that allows tissue to be lifted upward. This action increases the space between muscles and other structures like nerves and bones and is thought to release adhesions in soft tissues (knots), increase circulation of blood and lymph and decrease inflammation. Because of this dramatic increase in circulation it is extra imperative to drink extra water prior to and after treatment.

What to expect during cupping therapy

The most apparent side effect of cupping therapy are the bruise-like circular discolorations. These are in fact not bruises and will not feel like bruising. Bruising is caused by a trauma that compresses the muscles and causes breaking of the capillaries. This discoloration in cupping is due to the blood being drawn up towards the surface of the skin.

Can I receive cupping without the circular discolorations?

Yes! Communicate with your massage therapist if you prefer not to have marks after your cupping therapy session. Rather than leaving the cups stagnant on the skin your therapist will move the cups continuously to prevent the blood from being pulled to the surface of the skin. You will still gain benefit from cupping performed this way however the results may vary.

Cupping Safety

While cupping is generally considered safe for most healthy adults, it may not be appropriate for everyone. Because the cups create suction and pull on skin, this technique cannot be used on delicate or damaged skin. Certain medical conditions or medications can cause an increased risk of bruising, blistering, discomfort, and blood clots. It is important for you to fully complete your Health History form and keep your massage therapist up to date on your condition and any medications you may be taking.

Communication is Key

​It's important to communicate with your massage therapist during cupping therapy. Your massage therapist will ask for feedback and pay close attention to how your body and skin respond to the treatment to identify and relieve any adhesions discovered between layers of fascia. While you may feel some pressure or mild discomfort at times, it should not be painful. Some areas of your body may be more sensitive than others, and your massage therapist can make adjustments to maintain your comfort and keep you relaxed.

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