What is Massage Cupping?
An old Chinese philosophy says: “Where there’s stagnation, there will be pain. Remove the stagnation, and you remove the pain.” Seems simple enough, but how does it remove the pain?
Massage Cupping is starting to gain in popularity due to its powerful effects on the body with little to no discomfort. Cupping dates back through many cultures including the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Egyptians all the way back to 1,550 B.C. Massage Cupping has a wide range of purposes including helping with pain, inflammation, blood flow, and relaxation which is crucial when the nervous system is involved to allow for better healing.
Cupping therapy is a technique where cups (in this case silicone) are used to create a negative pressure where the fascia can be gripped and stretched. By creating suction and vacuum pressure, Massage Cupping can be used to soften tight muscles, loosen attachments and adhesions, and increase blood flow to areas of pain and discomfort.
Cupping lifts tissue, bringing hydration and blood flow to the area that is stuck or being blocked, it moves the deep inflammation to the surface of the skin so that it can flow easier in the less restricted lymphatic system. This allows for the body to clear out toxins, dead skin cells, random debris, and metabolic waste easier since there are less obstructions in the way and lets more blood into the damaged area allowing for new nutrients and oxygen to flow in promoting faster healing naturally.
Massage Cupping treatments have been known in the past to help in other areas as well including with some respiratory conditions, scars and adhesions, relaxation, pain relief, and pre/post-surgery. With the respiratory system, it has been known to help with asthma and seasonal allergies along with freeing chest restrictions and giving a person the ease of deeper breathes.
Scars and adhesions commonly come from injuries or surgical sites, with the use of suction, it can be invaluable in freeing soft tissue, restricted fascia, and re-aligning disorganized scar tissue into functional tissue. This in turn will help speed recovery time from an injury or surgery and can increase your athletic performance.
Relaxation may not be exactly what your thinking. While it is relaxing, the therapeutic benefits from being able to relax the central nervous system will decrease stress and anxiety, lower muscle tension allowing for better blood flow, and can aid in insomnia and fatigue. In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits is the relaxation of the nervous system, when the nervous system can let go, it can release its holding pattern on the tissue. A lot of times, we don’t realize our body is holding tension in an area to help protect itself from another area of pain or discomfort. This technique allows it to “let go” allowing us to free up the fascia making the area much more functional.
Vacuum therapy is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out from deep in the tissues to be released, hydrating and freeing up the fascia so that every part can move efficiently allowing the energy to flow throughout your body.
A few of the numerous benefits are listed below:
- Promoting blood flow to the muscles and tissues, and removing stagnation
- Supplying oxygen and nutrients to the cells
- Softening the tightened muscles
- Loosening of adhesions and knots
- Lifting the connecting tissues
- Opening the blockages of the lymphatic nodes and easing the flow of lymph
- Clearing of excess fluids and toxins, metabolic waste, dead cells, and random debris
- Drawing inflammation from the deeper tissues to the surface of the skin so it can heal
- Stimulating and later, calming the nervous system
- Lung inflammation and congestion
- Muscular aches/Sciatica/Poor circulation
- Athletic stress and injury, post event
- Migraines, tension headaches, and sinusitis
Massage Cupping can be a stand-alone treatment or can be included/added to any treatment session. Massage Cupping sessions are typically 30 minutes or included within one of the longer treatment sessions.
What is MediCupping?
MediCupping is very similar to Massage Cupping, the main difference is the use of a machine to control the air flow instead of the usual manual method. This allows for increased and fine-tuned consistency with each cup. It is a newer method that is more common in therapeutic western medicine and does not use fire, but an air pump instead to create the suction.
Safety and Precautions
Massage Cupping is safe, non-invasive, and rarely has any side effects if received from a well-trained, certified therapist. The massage cupping technique I use was taught through ACE Massage Cupping who uses silicon instead of glass, and manual hand pumps to control the suction/pressure. This eliminates the chance of receiving a burn or being cut on any glass if there is an issue with the cup.
Does it hurt?
No, Cupping does not hurt, it tends to be very gentle and has a strong suction feeling, like when you were a child and stuck the vacuum hose to your arm.
What are the bruises I see?
Massage Cupping still has a deep tissue component, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Cupping doesn’t actually bruise the tissue but can create similar looking marks which are misunderstood as bruises. This is usually caused by the bringing up of toxins and old blood back to the surface from the suction and lifting of tissue, allowing the body to naturally get rid of the build-up. A bruise on the other hand, is actual damage or trauma to the soft tissue/fascia, which massage cupping does not do.
How long do the marks last?
I want to clarify that there will not necessarily be any marks, but if one remains it can remain from a few minutes to a few weeks although most of the darker marks dissipate within 3-7 days. The lighter the mark and less congested the area, the faster the mark goes away, if one appears at all.
How does Massage Cupping heal scars?
It doesn’t heal the scar, but it does re-align all the tangled scar tissue (similarly to the cords behind most people’s computers). Essentially, when the body is damaged it lays down scar tissue to help compensate for the damaged tissue, when this happens, the body’s primary goal isn’t efficiency but to “plug the hole” to be able to keep going the best it can. Unfortunately, this method lays down fibers haphazardly in all directions and through multiple layers.
Is it safe before or after surgery?
Yes, Pre-surgery we may not be able to work directly over the site for the upcoming surgery, but we can work on attachments and other connecting muscles and tissue that may be holding tension on the area of pain. It will also help lift and separate the layers efficiently increasing the flow of fluids and decreasing or eliminating tissue adhesions.
In Post-surgery we will be able to do similar techniques as above with the soft tissue separation and we can open up your lymphatic system more so that when the body is healing after the surgery, there are less stagnations in the body allowing for better flowing of fluids leading to your body receiving more nutrients and an increased healing rate. When the healing process is far enough along, or the surgery is much older, we can start addressing the scar formation and help re-align those fibers. This will create more functionality in area along with reducing the visible scar.
Does Cupping have any sports benefits?
Yes, it frees up fascial adhesions and stuck muscles allowing for more functionality and efficiency from the body. This also helps the athlete maintain better posture enabling the joints to work how they were designed to for optimum performance. It also increases the cardiovascular system and has the potential to relieve muscle spasms.
Want More History?
Check out: https://massagecupping.com/history-of-cupping/