Get Cupped

You may have seen a friend with a neat series of bruises on their back and wondered if they had wrestled with a giant octopus. As much of a great story that would be, they’ve probably just had a cupping treatment. But why would someone pay good money to have those marks all over them? And why do therapists love using suction cups on their clients?

Let’s look at what cupping is all about. By the end, maybe you’ll want to try it out for yourself….

Where Cupping Came From
Cupping dates back thousands of years in Chinese medicine. Techniques were used to relieve a variety of symptoms including muscle pain, internal problems, respiratory issues, colds and flus.

Traditional cupping philosophy works on qi flow through the meridians. Today, with “myofascial cupping”, we use these techniques to effectively release muscle adhesions, trigger points, promote circulation, increase lymph flow, stimulate neural activity and stretch the fascial network.

How We Use It
When we use cupping in a treatment, it’s usually in conjunction with our regular massage techniques. Leaving cups on particularly tight, stubborn muscles, allows us to get a good release while working other important areas. Making a treatment a little more effective.

Some traditional therapists will use “fire cupping” which involves flammable alcohol, cotton balls and fire to create the vacuum in the cup. Rather than encouraging pyromaniac tendencies, we use cupping sets with air valves and a pump, giving us greater control over pressure.

Why You Might Have It Done
Cupping is great for releasing tough trigger points, freeing up myofascial adhesions and recovering from injuries. It’s a lot more gentle than having your therapist’s elbow digging into a trigger point. Also, because it increases circulation and lymph flow, it’s also known to be beneficial for the recovery of colds and flus.

What To Expect
If you expect to leave the treatment room looking like you’ve just been beaten up by an octopus, but feeling a whole lot looser, you won’t be disappointed.

As your therapist pumps the suction in a cup, you’ll find the sensation to be like a deep warmth and tingling. It’s a weird feeling, we’ll give you that, but it’s also very effective.

The skin will redden to indicate circulation being brought to the surface. This increased local blood supply will nourish muscles and skin, allowing toxins to be brought to the surface and removed by the body’s lymphatic system.

By the end, you will be left with tell tale cupping signs – red welts or bruise-like marks. However they won’t be painful like a bruise. This discolouration comes not from broken blood vessels or tissue trauma, but metabolic waste brought to the surface from deep within the muscles. The health of your diet and condition of muscle tissue will determine how dark marks will appear and how long they will stay – generally only between two and seven days.

The aftermath of a cupping treatment is like that of a deep tissue massage. You may feel a little rundown and tired, but this is just your body clearing waste products. There may be a few slightly tender areas, but they will recover over the next few days.

Get Cupped
Hopefully this has dispelled any concerns you have with cupping and inspired you to try it in your next treatment. Next visit to Skeletal Harmonics, you know what to ask for. There’s no extra charge, so it’s worth a try. Many clients become addicted.

If on the other hand, you still cringe at the idea of your skin being sucked up into a cup, maybe you can now better understand the people who look like they wrestle a giant octopus.