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What is Cupping?


Cupping is a suction technique designed to pull toxin build-up and muscle spasms from the body's deeper tissue to the surface of the skin.  The cells of the body use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.  However, when the energy is blocked, cell waste, or carbon dioxide, gets blocked, creating a build-up of acid and/ or toxins within the body.


Physical pain implies a blockage in the flow of energy through a particular area.  Utilizing vacuum or suction techniques, cupping pulls the blockage out of the deeper tissue and moves it to the skin's surface.  Once on the surface, it is much easier for the body to eliminate toxins, through the superficial blood supply or capillary system.


Cupping is an extraordinary technique, and its effects are immediate. The healing process may be shortened by weeks, even months, by using cupping, a method that manually removes energy blockages in ways that needles cannot.

What can Cupping reveal?


Cupping is diagnostic as well as therapeutic, and it can tell us three basic things, which are:


  1. Where the problem is.  Some skin under the cups will color, and some won't, though the same amount of suction has been used with all of the cups.  Even on the skin under a single cup, a part may color, while the rest does not.

  2. What causes the problem.  Problems related to toxin build-up or muscle spasm will cause the skin under the cup to color, whereas nerve or bone issues will not color at all.

  3. The severity of the problem.  Light or moderate blockage will cause the skin under a cup to color pink or red, while severe stagnation can cause the skin to color a deep scarlet, purple, or even black.


Why do people who have Cupping done seem to have “bruises”?


The most common misunderstanding regarding Cupping is the temporary marks left on the skin after the procedure.  These marks are often referred to as “bruises”, but that is not accurate.  Bruises normally develop after some kind of trauma, followed by edema forming in the area and the coagulation of sticky proteins.  This trauma to the soft tissue usually results in stagnation of circulation to the area, leading to pain and dysfunction.  Unlike injuries, the suction formed by the cupping draws up the old, non-circulating blood and sticky fluids from a specific area to the surface, so that healthy, free circulation can be restored to the affected area, creating space for oxygen, living cells, and nutrients, for faster recovery.  Where there is dead/ static blood, lymph and/ or cellular debris, pathogenic factors, and/ or toxins present in the body, cupping can leave marks, which indicate that stagnation or disease has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface.


How long does Cupping take?


A Cupping procedure takes between 5-15 minutes, while a Cupping massage takes about 30 minutes.  Cupping Massage is performed on the back, while the patient is lying down on the massage table.  Massage oil is applied first, to ensure smooth and painless sliding of the cups over the skin.  The Cupping sensation can be a bit painful for the first sixty seconds, during which time most of the toxins are removed.  It is helpful for the patient to try to relax into the process and to focus on breathing.  Overall, Cupping Massage is a rather pleasant and relaxing procedure, and it is the most requested treatment modality amongst my patients.


When should Cupping be avoided?


It is best to avoid Cupping:

  • if you have an important social event within two weeks and do not wish the cupping marks to be visible (if not hidden by your garments),

  • if you experience high fever, convulsions, or very severe headache,

  • if you currently have a skin rash, ulcers, or blisters,

  • if you are pregnant, and/ or

  • if you have thrombocytopenia (low platelet levels).

What are the benefits of Cupping?


Cupping has a myriad of benefits. Cupping:


  • Relieves muscle and joint pain

  • Alleviates back and sciatica pain

  • Boosts the immune system

  • Helps alleviate lung problems, such as asthma and chronic coughs

  • Helps with colds and flu

  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys, to improve their function

  • Balances the hormones

  • Balances bowel conditions

  • Relieves headache

  • Helps with depression and emotional problems


What should I do after a Cupping session?


There are some special instructions to be followed, for 48 hours after Cupping therapy.  Namely:

  • Avoid any drafts or winds,

  • Bundle up and avoid exposing the area that was cupped,

  • Take it easy, by avoiding overexertion,

  • Drink plenty of water, to flush toxins out of your system, and

  • Take a hot bath and 200mg of ibuprofen, if you experience any soreness.


The skin discoloration can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the severity of the problem.  I usually recommend following up with another Cupping session in two weeks, as well as one month after the initial treatment, to remove residual toxins.  It is not advised to have more than one Cupping session per two weeks, to allow your body time to heal.

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