Cupping therapy is an ancient technique, with influences from China, Greece and Egypt (with Traditional Chinese Medicine being the major influencer). It has been used for centuries, and its popularity continues to grow as an additional form of bodywork. Cups are used to suction soft tissue, drawing the skin up into the cup and separating the layers of superficial fascia. The suction draws the blood to the level of the skin, creating a vacuum (through negative pressure) below the skin, resulting in new blood arriving.
There are many different types of cups used. Plastic and silicone are most commonly used by health practitioners. Glass cupping ( also known as fire cupping) which is reserved for Registered Acupuncturists, Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Naturopathic Doctors. The addition of fire to help create the suction will introduce heat to the treatment.
The pressure created in the cups range from light to strong depending on tolerance and goal of the treatment. Cups can be placed over areas as a diagnostic tool, to determine which areas have the most restriction. Retention cupping or stationary cupping is when multiple cups are placed over a body area and left for 5 - 15 minutes. You can also incorporate active or passive movement of a body part to this technique. Sliding or Gliding cupping is a technique that is utilized over large, flat body surfaces (bony prominences are avoided) and you slide or move the cup around. Flash Cupping (generally used with fire cupping) is when a cup is alternately placed, lifted and replaced in rapid succession producing many small suctions. This method is most commonly used over local areas of numbness or declining function.
It is normal for the skin to appear flushed or bruised (this is called ecchymosis) following a cupping treatment. The colour of of the marks range from light to dark, and indicate different levels of stagnation or tightness through that area. These marks should not cause any pain and will disappear within a couple of days.
Effects of cupping
Fascial: working to improve the pliability between the layers of fascia and decreasing any restriction (which will result in an increase in range of motion). Muscles: respond to the increase in blood flow to the area, resulting in relaxation Adhesions and Scarring: cupping helps to separate the tissue layers Joints: Cycling new blood to the area while separating adhesions surrounding the joint Digestive system: Cupping over the abdomen has been known to increase appetite, peristalsis and help soothe digestive issues. Improved circulatory response: which will treat chronic inflammation and supply a new, more effective blood supply.
Cupping can be an effective tool in treating:
Muscle or fascial tightness resulting in decreased range of motion
Strains and sprains
Joint instabilities and contractures
Nerve Impingement or Compression syndromes (Thoracic Outlet, Carpel Tunnel, Loss of sensation, Sciatica)
Contraindications for the use of cupping: Patients with ample body hair, edema (swelling), allergic skin conditions or ulcerated sores, over areas where the muscle is thin or an area overlying large bony depressions or joints, on the abdomen or lower back during pregnancy. Clients that have circulatory conditions and blood disorders, decreased sensation due to diabetes.
Cups are disinfected and sterilized between each use.
Cupping can be added into any treatment! Please let me know if you'd like to add it in to your next appointment!