Ever since Michael Phelps debuted his then-odd, round bruises at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, cupping has become an increasingly popular method of alternative therapy.
If you’ve seen the social media posts and wondered if cupping really worked, we can definitely help you separate fact from fiction and give you all the information you need to know about this holistic, all-natural remedy.
What is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping therapy is a physical treatment that helps increase blood flow and stimulate tissues to promote healing, health, and restoration. Cupping dates back to 281 A.D. when a Chinese Taoist is thought to have used it to assist in draining infection from his patients’ bodies.
What Happens During Cupping Therapy?
During a cupping session, a therapist will apply a series of glass cups to your body. These cups look more like round bulbs with a narrow neck (like a lightbulb).
If you have a specific area where you are experiencing pain (i.e. low back, hamstrings, etc.) the cups may be placed directly over these areas. For promotion of overall health, your therapist will apply cups on your back and chest.
The cups that are placed on your body must form suction. They do this one of two ways:
- A therapist heats the cup and places it on your body which creates suction.
- A manual pump is used once the cup is placed on your body to create suction.
Cups are left on your body for five to ten minutes and then removed. The therapist may then apply an herbal cream to your treatment areas.
How Does Cupping Therapy Increase Blood Flow?
When a hot cup is placed on your skin, it creates a vacuum as it cools, which naturally draws skin further into the cup. If a manual pump is used, your skin will be pulled into the cup with the pump.
This suction helps increase blood flow and helps to separate the fascia (connective tissue that holds our bodies together) to stimulate healing.
What Are the Benefits of Cupping?
While cupping was originally studied to remove toxins from the body, the current known uses and benefits are much more abundant.
The original reason why cupping was studied was to help break up and eliminate toxins from the body. Toxins can build up in our bodies due to stress, improper diets and routines.
By increasing blood flow, more toxins are flushed to your lymphatic system for removal.
Improves Blood Flow
Your blood is your healing life force. The nutrients and oxygen in your blood are needed to help keep your body healthy and heal sickness and injuries.
Cupping helps stimulate blood flow by pulling areas of your skin into a vacuum, stimulating blood flow not just in that area, but all over your body.
Relieves Muscle Spasms
Cupping is frequently used in sports medicine to help aching muscles, bring relief to injuries, and help relax tension.
Because cupping helps separate the fascia from other tissues in the body, like muscles and bones, it allows more blood circulation in these areas. This can help relax the muscle, which can eliminate the spasm.
When we carry excess weight, we are sluggish and lethargic. At the same time, our tissues are also overloaded with toxins and completely run-down.
Cupping helps stimulate and support health metabolism by reactivating tissues, increasing circulation, and helping you feel better, which can help you move more and make healthier decisions.
Feeling backed up can make anyone feel uncomfortable. For many of us, a lack of stimulation in our intestines and a sluggish and unhealthy gut flora can contribute to irregular bowel movements.
Cupping can help stimulate your bowels, assist with circulation, and help bring your body’s natural cycle back into balance.
Help Heal Acne, Scarring, and Varicose Veins
Again, it’s all about blood flow. Getting healing, restorative blood to areas of concern helps support your cells in regenerating and creating new tissue.
For areas with acne, scarring, and varicose veins, blood flow is crucial for restoring the look of healthy skin tissue and visibly reducing the appearance of varicose veins.
Is Cupping Better Than Massage?
Cupping and massage are two completely different treatments that can both help stimulate your tissues, release toxins, and increase blood flow.
The main difference between massage and cupping is that massage uses direct pressure to relieve tension, while cupping uses negative force to help lift fascia, muscle fibers, and other tissues to bring relief.
Using cupping along with massage is a great way to support your overall health and wellness. It’s a great way to incorporate both positive and negative pressure to your muscles.
Should I Combine Cupping with Acupuncture?
Absolutely! In fact, combining cupping and acupuncture is a great way to make your acupuncture session more beneficial and we offer both at our studio.
Cupping helps pull tension upward, which can then be relieved through acupuncture. Cupping can also help loosen your muscles which may make your acupuncture session more enjoyable and help your provider better access your pressure points.
If you’ve been on the fence about acupuncture, you can start slow. Acupressure is based on the same pressure-point therapy as acupuncture, but no needles are involved.
We believe your body knows how to take care of itself and offers products that work synergistically with your body’s most important systems to keep you healthy and balanced. If you are looking for a natural, holistic way to support your overall health and feel better, consider cupping. It has the ability to stimulate your muscles, increase blood flow, and relax your nervous system to relieve tension.
WTHN offers a Face Cupping Kit that can not only stimulate your skin’s natural collagen and elastin production (read: make newer, healthier skin, faster), but also help to minimize fine lines and wrinkles and reduce muscle tension and aches through improved circulation. It’s your all-in-one ticket to get your glow on!