- What is cupping?
Cupping is an ancient Chinese practice that uses suction cups to lift fascia and muscles, easing tensions, and that temporarily increases blood circulation. There are lots of cupping techniques, but the most prominent ones are stationary cupping, where the cups are left on the skin; cupping massage, where they are soothingly glided across the skin; and flash cupping, where they’re quickly removed then moved to another area. Also of note is the difference between wet cupping, where an incision is made in the skin prior to placing a cup, and dry cupping, where it is not; dry cupping is vastly more popular than wet cupping in the West. Of course, these techniques can all be used in the same treatment. During cupping therapy, tissues, muscles and skin will be pulled upward: this motion is in a way inverse to a massage, but creates a similar effect.
- What types of cups are used in cupping therapy?
A therapist can use various kinds of cups to create suction and the most widely used cups are made of glass, plastic and silicone.
- Glass cups
Glass cups are the most commonly used cups of professional practitioners, replacing the bamboo, pottery and bronze cups used in earlier times. The glass cups can create strong vacuum and can add warm on the skin by burning with fire. Besides, glass cups are easy to glide on the skin by using massage oils, gels, lotions, or massage balms. However, using glass cups requires more training, and there is a risk of burning hurt as well as broken.
- Plastic cups
Cups made of plastics are normally used with a pump gun, which makes it very easy and quick to create strong vacuum. Compared with glass cups, plastic cups do not need training but they are also not very well suited for glide cupping therapy since the edges are not entirely smooth and the strength of the cups is limited.
- Silicone cups
The development of modern materials has made it possible to use silicone cups which are portable, pliable and unbreakable. Silicone cupping set is made of a modern material—silicone, which is soft and elastic with enough thickness for strength and suction. These cups are convenient to use and can be adapted to uneven or bony surfaces of the body due to the elasticity. A silicone cupping set contains several cups of different sizes and you can use them on almost everywhere on your body and even on your face. Silicone cups work by gently pulling tissues up and this process is like delivering a deep tissue massage. The disadvantage of silicone cups is that they usually cost a little bit more than other cupping sets.
- How to use silicone cups?
When you use silicone cups for massage, you just need to press the cup to squeeze out of the air to create vacuum and then put it on the skin. The suction of the cup can pull up your skin and tissues. You can adjust the intense by varying the compression of the cups.
For optimal effect, you are advised to apply massage lotions, gels or massage balms or any other light lubricant on the area to be treated to reduce friction. You can leave the cup in one place for a few minutes or slowly slide the cup across the skin to stimulate tissues under the skin, which is called glide cupping or cupping massage. Please make sure that no air enters into the cup during the process.
- What are the benefits of cupping therapy
Cupping therapy can be incredibly relaxing, and many patients describe it as being akin to a deep tissue massage. During cupping massage, therapists gently move the cups around their patients’ body, and this motion helps relax tense and sore muscles: not just good for the body, this relief can also help relieve stress and diminish symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Faster healing
Cupping therapy helps speed up recuperation from injuries by temporarily inducing light inflammation, which stimulates an immune response: the body sends a rush of blood cells to the affected or injured area, which in turn helps the body recover from any other ailments in that particular area.
- Treatment for skin blemishes
Cupping therapy is effective in treating acne, eczema, age-related skin marks and even cellulite. Silicone cups are a more appropriate choice of model for facial treatments, because they tend to be softer, and come in smaller, more varied shapes and models. By boosting circulation, cupping therapy saturates the muscles and tissues with fresh blood, increasing the production of collagen, which in turn is responsible for the skin’s elasticity and smooth appearance. It has been confirmed by many studies that cupping is more effective as a treatment for acne than popular forms of antibiotics or other medications.
- Pain Relief
According to a study conducted by researchers from UCLA, blood flow in healthy individuals’ back significantly increases after cupping therapy. Increased blood flow means improved circulation, and this is the reason why client who receive a cupping therapy reported that it helps relieve chronic pains and the effect lasts longer than any other massage modalities.
- Relief for cold, cough and allergy symptoms
Excess phlegm in the lung is the root cause of coughing and cold. Cupping therapy can stimulate the lungs and other vital organs to clear out the excess phlegm and speed up the process to relieve colds, coughs, or allergy symptoms.
Poor circulation will cause the buildup of toxins inside of the body, leading to many different health conditions. Cupping therapy helps clear dead cells and improve stagnation, while the blood rushing to the treated area carries toxins away. So, it is suggested to drink lots of water to flush away those impurities and promote better health after a cupping therapy session.
Cupping therapy is not only known for relaxing tense facial muscles, but is also effective in reducing wrinkles and bringing more nutrients to the skin by stimulating tissues under the face’s skin.
- Other related questions
- Does cupping hurt?
Depending on the intensity of the suction, cupping can feel like a pinch; however, the vast majority of people who undergo these treatments describe feeling deeply relaxed, and that the sensation resembles a massage. Patients can certainly ask practitioners to remove the cups if they become uncomfortable, or to adjust the degree of suction. Cupping is known for leaving bruises, but these marks are usually not painful, and fade after a few days.
- Why is cupping so popular among athletes?
Cupping’s ability to deeply and effectively relax muscles allows athletes to increase their flexibility and to relieve soreness, aches, and tensions that keep them from extending their muscles to their fullest. Cupping is used as a preventative measure to ensure proper recuperation, as a way to relieve soreness and tensions, or simply as a part of post-exercise stretches.
- Do silicone cups have side effects?
The silicone cups are extremely safe, and shouldn’t have any side-effects barring a serious pre-existing medical condition. However, stationary cupping treatment can sometimes leave red marks. These marks look like round shaped bruises, but these marks are not painful at all and gradually fade within few days. If you want to avoid these marks, lower the level of suction.
- How long will silicone cups last?
Silicone cups are made with high quality silicone, and a silicone cupping set should last decades of regular use if properly kept up. The cups cannot be broken by dropping them, and they are made to withstand substantial pressure and retain their shape. In order to ensure that the silicone cups last you the maximal amount of time, avoid exposure high temperatures and fire.
Cupping is a safe, simple and effective treatment. But if you are not sure about cupping therapy, we recommend seeing a licensed acupuncturist for this technique, as they can diagnose different issues and apply the technique safely. You can find a licensed acupuncturists at acupuncture-clinic.ca