From red carpet celebrities to Olympic level athletes, they have all been seen with cupping marks along their back and shoulders. No longer an obscure and frightening treatment, cupping is now gaining popularity for its health benefits. Let’s explore the benefits of cupping – what it is, how it works and how it can help you.
WHAT IS CUPPING?
Cupping has its roots in ancient Chinese medicine. The technique involves placing glass, bamboo, or silicone cups on the skin and creating a vacuum-like seal by suctioning out the oxygen. Drawing up the superficial muscle layer into the cup stimulates the circulation of blood, breaks up adhesions, and allows toxins to be drawn out of the body via the lymphatic system. Cupping is used to treat blood vessels, fascia, muscles, and scar tissue.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Myofascial decompression (MFD) happens as a result of cupping. It aids in the release of adhesions which develop over time. Basically, tissue gets glued together. MFD also increases absorption of fluids and nutrient exchange. We use it to decrease stiffness and muscle pain, improve the overall health of tissues and to increase mobility.
Treatment generally leaves circular marks from the negative pressure of the cups. These rings can actually help your provider in your treatment as the colors and patterns help identify the cause of your discomfort from stagnated blood flow to toxins or deficiencies in the blood.
HOW CAN CUPPING HELP YOU?
CUPPING RELEASES TRIGGER POINTS
Trigger points are found in muscles that are overworked or injured from falls, strains, and sprains. Often, when we hold a static position for long periods of time we are contracting several muscles without shortening them. This creates trigger points and myofascial pain, such as the pain you experience after being behind a desk all day at work.
To release trigger points a series of strokes must be applied across the point and the taut band, flushing out the blood and lymph while allowing fresh blood to move into the tissue. This removes cellular waste from the prolonged muscle contraction while bringing in fresh nutrients and oxygen. Cupping is the most effective technique in ‘drawing’ fluid, both blood and lymph, from a trigger point through the application of negative pressure.
CUPPING IS RELAXING
Cupping doesn’t just treat physical ailments. It’s also beneficial to mental health. Cupping encourages us to enter a more relaxed state since it sedates the central nervous system. By lowering the stress response it offers protection against both anxiety and depression.
Practicing self-care is relaxing in itself. Cupping is similar to a deep tissue massage by lifting the pressure from tense muscles. This, combined with the stillness during the suctioning process, promotes relaxation.
CUPPING BOOSTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Cupping improves immune function by moving blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Basically it encourages the body to work at its best. Cupping has been used to treat allergies, chest infections, asthma, skin conditions, and digestive disturbances. In fact, among the benefits of Cupping is that it improves blood flow and has also been shown to help lower inflammation, which is beneficial to most medical conditions.
If you’re ready to test the benefits of cupping and see how it can help you, Dawn would love to help. Cupping is a great compliment to existing therapies like acupressure or massage therapy.
Jane Marinelli, MS, LMT, CHC – Jane is a Maryland State Licensed, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist as well as a Certified Holistic Health Coach, group facilitator and wellness program coordinator. Jane is certified in Pre-natal Massage, Medical Massage & ZB, & teaches meditation.