Massage Cupping Therapy

Massage Cupping Therapy

Our contemporary field of wellness and healing arts has embraced and accentuated another ancient technique that offers very powerful results.

Massage Cupping is a modified version of the classic "cupping therapy" which has been utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine for several thousands of years. Worldwide uses have also been recognized in Egypt, India, Tibet, Thailand, Europe, and Mexico. Native cultures also have documented cupping folk remedies, blood letting, and the use of leeches for this practice. Overtime, generations keep extending this simple technique to move blood and energy (chi or prana) ,disperse internal heat/inflammation, accelerate proper drainage, renew / nourish tissue cells, and aide in reconstruction of both muscle and fascia fibers.

Massage Cupping therapy is becoming more recognized as another tool for massage therapists, bodyworkers, and other health care providers with manual or electric vacuum methods. When using these assorted cupping devises, one can work various acupressure points, meridian channels and zones for reflexology related services. This negative pressure pulls upward and away from the body surface which can alleviate the uncomfortable sensations of stagnation, heaviness, stiffness from congestion, edema and pooling of toxic build-up and debris which often expresses as skin symptoms of rashes, allergy, and so on.

When energy (chi) is compromised, blocked, or stuck, it is believed to contribute to a variety of disturbing conditions ranging from chronic pain, fatigue, disharmonious emotional/mental states, stiff muscles and joints, as well as disrupted organ regulation function.

Once one initiates working with cupping tools such as glass bulb, plastic, bamboo, latex/silicone, magnetic, etc., they become an extension of the practioner's own fingers and hands-much like hot stone therapies.

NOTE: The use or specialization of cups minimizes the stress and strain of typical bodyworker fatigue, while still allowing for deeply penetrating maneuvers in shiatsu or similar bodywork offerings.

Levels of Work from Cupping: *Physical * Mental/Emotional *Spiritual

The sensation of massage cupping is often characterized by a deep warmth and minor tingling a day or two after the session. This can even be a slight, brief itch while the treatment is in progress for some individuals.

Cupping itself is not an irritant to the body when applied properly, as it draws and pulls targeted cells "out". It is an excellent pairing for contrast therapy with cold compresses or cooling liniments/essential oils and it can easily be added to any session in particular the broad area such as the back and spine regions.
Some have designated Massage Cupping as "dredging the channels" for it's detoxification attributes.

The predominant treatment is primarily sedating after just a few minutes, and individuals will often descend into a profound state of relaxation-almost hypnotic with the electric vacuum modality in particular, as the machine hum offers a soft "white noise" vibration to the skin/muscle and bone membranes.

Tandem, also known as four-hand is another specialized modality.
Larger cups can be used on the back/torso area as the strong area pull sensation mimics the action of deep tissue massage without the accompanying discomfort, bracing, armoring, or resisting the stroke by the Practioner. Cupping essentially bypasses this for most everyone.

The stroke movement may be long, flowing glides which still drain and reposition fluids. Positions can also be circular, corkscrew, infinity signs, pop and release, stationary/parked in place, or a full combination depending on the specific need. Cupping Massage is, in an odd sense, the opposite of most massage practices that employ the use of compression, squeezing, skin rolling, pinchment, taps, etc. These are considered by some authorities as still "superficial" because cupping can reach as far as four inches into the body - deep indeed. (In fact, some malpractice insurance will not cover this application because of the potential powers it has).

With cups, there is a deeper suction effect and lift. As the cups slide/glide across oiled and lubricated skin, or just remain still and parked, the suction pressure is able to penetrate far deeper and wider than any other tool we may offer that does not have a client cringing.

Massage oils/lotions/balms applied to the skin prior to cupping application drains, softens, and helps reconstruct fibers and accelerate drainage of the lymphatic system.

Massage Cupping can aid in numerous conditions:
Pre- and Post - Operative therapies (to shorten recovery time/enhance results)
Pain reduction
Skin toning and firming (cellulite minimized over time)
Joint mobility
Scar reduction (pigment/ surface texture/adhesions)
General detoxification (stagnation alleviated)
Release of contracted muscle tissue
Lymph Drainage
Assist with weight loss programs

The skin, depending on pigment/melanin, will become flushed pink-to-reddish and darker red/purple-with use of strong and prolonged cupping which is an indicator that circulation has been brought quickly to the visible surface. Occasionally, there is no obvious color shift- which can indicate a possible blocked channel or low vitality in that specific region. That zone will likely need further attention.

Application of high grade liniments, analgesics or essential oils immediately following a cupping treatment, will aid absorption deep into the tissue layers- as the dermis has been cleared to some extent. This increased local blood supply will infuse and nourish the newly "opened" vessel network. Referrals to allied professional is common at this point which may include a master herbalist, colon hydro- therapist, yoga instructor, homeopath, naturopath, physical therapist, aromatherapist, chiropractor, or acupuncturist, to name a few.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this re-visited technique is the subtle nuances of the various cup movements. Client's often loose track of cup location, what type/size, and number placed upon their body. Creativity and intuition guide the alteration of pressure, speed, and placement of cups. The edge of the cup(s) can be manipulated to "scoop" in a traction/spreading motion or cross fiber movement, while rather vigorous circles or "lifts" feel marvelous on the hips, thighs, and shoulders. Long and balanced strokes down the side of the spine and along the rib cage provide a much needed expansion. This can assist with better breathing for enriching the bloodstream.

Neck and shoulder tension from extended driving or desk/computer work is soothed using assorted cups along these muscle groups always draining at end of segment towards the lymph main ducts and wells of auxiliary (armpit) and inguinal (groin).

Interestingly, clients often report that this kind of massage cupping experience remained with them longer than other modalities and that the results are cumulative with consistent follow-ups.

Self care (home use) cupping is also an option for those impacted by chronic issues or cellulite conditions. Cupping is never performed over the carotid artery or jugular vein, nor over open wounds, or varicose veins. There are contra-indications for magnetic cups and those with pacemakers or other electrical devises. One must read and study uses prior to starting ANY cupping devise.

Cupping can be integrated into most modalities and is like having a second Practioner working-which is exceedingly powerful for the client and tremendously rewarding for the provider.

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