What is cupping and how does it work?
Cupping feels like a massage but uses glass cups which glide over the skin. It helps improve blood circulation to and from the tissues and relieves muscle tension. According to Chinese medicine theory, 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 is very relaxing and can be used to boost overall vitality and well-being. It can also be used to for specific injuries or areas, targeting not just the resulting muscle tension, but also the underlying Qi flow imbalance. It works in a similar way to acupuncture so 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 suction cupping and fire cupping. Massage oil is used so the cups can glide over the skin, very similar to a massage (please let your practitioner know if you have any relevant allergies). Cups may also be left in place on the skin to target specific points, 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. This may leave marks on the skin as blood flow to the skin surface increases. Fire cupping uses warmed cups which further enhances blood flow to the surface and therefore enhances the treatment effect. It is particularly beneficial in colder weathers.
We offer 30-minute and 45-minute cupping treatments which focus on the neck, shoulders and back, the most common areas of muscle tension build-up. We also offer a 60-minute whole body treatment which will focus on the neck, shoulders, back and backs of the legs (modesty blankets can be provided).
How will I feel after the treatment?
Most feel very relaxed and revitalised following cupping massage as it releases muscle tension and stiffness. However, in the case of certain 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 temporary bruising may occur. When cups are left in one place on the skin, it is more likely to cause a mark. If you are concerned about marks, the technique can be altered to reduce this likelihood.
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.