In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Cupping is used to draw out toxins from deep in the body tissues. This is performed by using a steady suction on the skin for about 10 to 15 minutes. The colors that the skin turns to, from this suction, may give the practitioner an idea of what may be causing illness. If the skin does not change color after the cups have been in place for that time period, then there is not enough circulation to the skin and deeper tissues in the area. This would also indicate the flow of energy along the meridian(s) is not moving well. The suction is traditionally provided by using fire to remove the oxygen from a glass or ceramic cup, hence the term “Fire Cupping”. When the oxygen is removed, the cup is quickly placed on the client and the skin is sucked up into the cup.
Today “Fire Cupping” is still used and is an effective way to improve blood, lymph and energy circulation throughout the body, but we also have other ways of providing the suction. The most common uses plastic or glass cups that are attached to a hand pump. The cup is placed on the skin, in the area to be worked, and air is removed from the cup with a few pumps on the hand pump. If the traditional treatment is being performed, the cups are left in place as stated above. To perform Massage Cupping, some oil is rubbed on the skin and a cup is used as before, but less suction is used. When the cup is in place, the cup is gently lifted to cause the skin to be pulled up from the underlying tissue. Once lifted, the cup is moved around using a variety of techniques to help release adhesions or scars in the tissues, encourage the flow of lymph and blood, as well as, improve the energy flow. The bottom line is that along with those activities, pressures are relieved and pain is usually reduced.
Massage Cupping Therapy techniques rarely cause any marks on the client. It can be very relaxing or very stimulating, depending on why you need the cupping done. If it’s for lymph drainage and blood circulation, usually it is pretty gentle and relaxing. To help remove pain from muscles, a joint, tendons and ligaments, it can be a bit more intense when adhesions and scar tissue is being released, but it should still be easily tolerated. In that case, most of the session should be used to relieve the tensions around the affected area, with periodic and more gentle work in the worse area.
To receive the most benefits from Massage Cupping Therapy, it will usually take a few sessions. Since we are releasing and moving a lot of toxins out of the tissues and into the blood stream, it helps cleanse and detoxify the body. The first session is usually, mild to moderate suction pressure and quite often pulsed, suction and release repeatedly performed to loosen up the underlying tissues without causing the client to tense up. It usually takes a session or two for your body to really start releasing some of the deeper toxins. As each successive layer releases, the area below it is now more effectively accessed and addressed. If a client’s lymphatic system is particularly congested, the first few sessions will need to be even lighter and we may not even get the whole body worked each time. If the toxins are released too quickly, it can make some feel ill.
There are Body Wrap Treatments available that combine Massage Cupping Therapy with the application of blends of essential oils to the skin right after the area has been treated with the cups. The oils are readily absorbed into the skin and benefit the whole body. The series is eight treatments, designed to be given over four weeks, but can be done over a longer period of time, if needed. The first two essential oil treatments are for breaking down the fat tissue; the next two are toning the skin and deeper tissues; the next two are diuretic to release extra fluids from your body; and the last two are designed as anti-cellulite treatments. There are always several benefits noticed during the course of the sessions, including: increased energy, feeling lighter and more energetic, skin tightening, clearer thinking, clothes fitting better, better circulation to the extremities and whitening of the whites of the eyes, to name a few.