What is cupping and how does it work?
Cupping feels like a massage but involves the use of glass cups. It helps improve blood circulation to and from the tissues and relieve muscle tension. It does this by targeting specific points along channels that carry the body’s life energy known as “Qi.” Blockages in the flow of Qi cause stiffness or pain. Cupping alleviates this by helping it to flow smoothly around the body.
Why might it be used?
Cupping may be used to target a specific injury or area of muscle tension. It can also be generally used to maintain a good state of health and wellbeing. It works in a similar way to acupuncture but can be used as an alternative for those with a phobia of needles. The technique has been used by Olympians such as Michael Phelps to enhance their performance.
Which cupping therapies do you offer?
We offer fire cupping, moving cupping and stationary suction cupping. In the stationary technique, cups are left on the skin to target specific points. These points are the same place where acupuncture needles would usually be inserted to regulate the flow of Qi. This is, therefore, a good alternative for those who would prefer not to have acupuncture. Moving cupping works in a similar way but reduces the likelihood of marks as the cups are moved over the skin, creating more of a massage feeling. In fire cupping, the cups are warmed to further promote blood flow to the surface. This warmth enhances the effects of the therapy. It is also beneficial for releasing stiffness associated with cold weather.
Treatments last approximately 45 minutes and cost £30. This includes a 10 to 15-minute consultation to discuss what you hope to gain from the treatment, and which one is right for you.
What can I expect during the treatment?
This will depend on the type of therapy you choose. All treatments will involve an initial consultation to ascertain what you hope to gain from the treatment and whether there is a specific injury or area you would like focussed on. A general maintenance treatment will usually focus on the back, but the neck, shoulders, arms, buttocks and legs may also be massaged. To allow the cups to glide over the skin, massage oil will be applied (please let your practitioner know if you have any relevant allergies). Modesty blankets will be provided when necessary.
How will I feel after the treatment?
Cupping works to release muscle tension and stiffness. However, with some injuries, the person may go through what is known as a ‘healing crisis’ following the treatment. This means that there may be a temporary increase in discomfort as the tissues start to repair. Therefore, symptoms may sometimes appear to get worse before they get better, but this is just part of the healing process.
Will I have marks on my skin after cupping?
As this therapy encourages blood flow to the surface (to aid in tissue repair), it is possible that bruising may occur. As stationary suction cupping leaves cups in one place on the skin, it is more likely to cause marks. Though moving cupping can still cause marks, the likelihood is reduced and may, therefore, be a better option if you are concerned about this. Any bruising that does occur will be temporary.
Are there any contraindications?
Cupping may not be suitable for people with certain health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis or shingles affecting the area being massaged
Furthermore, massage over areas such as the abdomen and lower back are also contraindicated in pregnancy.