Cupping has been used for therapeutic value for more than 5000 years although many think the pioneers were the Chinese, there are historical records of the usage also in The middle-east, Scandinavia and Greece. The application generally involves a cup nowadays, previously a glass jar would have been used, with alcohol which would have been lit, and then ignited to create a vacuum. Throughout the years animal horns, ceramic cups, bamboo cups, metal bells have been used, throughout the different cultures. Some would argue that silicone or plastic cups are more suitable and practical in this day and age. I use plastic cups with a hand held vacuum, if the cups loose suction I can re-apply as necessary, I can also control the strength of the vacuum using the pump.
In my first image (with the lovely Laura) you can see immediately after the cups there are red rings. These red rings show where the blood has been sucked up, and is currently waiting to be processed and moved along from the circulatory / lymphatic system.
In some cases the red rings may stay there due to toxins, reduced blood flow, or reduced performance of the lymphatic system for a number of reasons. The rings or markings may stay for up to 2 weeks, depending on location of the cups, pressure used and individuals health, these are seen to bring on healing properties. It may be noted that increased tiredness / fatigue, (or in my case on one occasion) temporary nausea may be brought on as the body starts to filter out toxins. As the rings / markings disappear you may notice increase alertness, performance, reduced fatigue, reduced pain, increased mobility and more. It should be mentioned that if these ‘healing responses’ are brought on, they are unlikely to e brought on in subsequent sessions. The cups may be placed for a number of minutes and not moved, or using some massage oil they can moved around for therapeutic benefit – this is known as ‘cupping massage’. I personally enjoy both techniques and find that the ‘best’ application depends on the individual and the injury (if any), or desired outcome. I often will tie this in with acupuncture and sports / remedial / deep tissue massage where necessary. With acupuncture, the cupping needs to be performed before hand, as for hygiene reasons you wouldn’t want to create a vacuum over an incision – as blood could be drawn out
The image to the right shows where I have left 2 cups on the middle of the back, to create a vacuum you ca see where the skin is sucked upwards going a redder colour showing where blood is drawn up also.
Cupping can help with a number of conditions, such as:-
- Frozen shoulder
- Recovery from an injury
- Runners knee
- Lower back ache
- Any issue where muscular tension is a factor
Some of the benefits of cupping include:-
- Improved local circulation
- Pain relief
- Improved lymphatic drainage
- Increased energy
- Increased feelings of well being
Following the treatment advice as follows:-
- Drink plenty of water, this will help flush out toxins from your body
- Rest, as needed – the strength of treatment / healing responses will vary from person to person
- No alcohol / caffeine for 24hrs, as you are processing the waste products – make sure you re-fill with water
- Avoid intense exercise, the day / day after a session
- Limit refined sugar intake for 24hrs
- Increase fruit / vegetable intake
- Contact your therapist if you have any concerns regarding the treatment
I have been lucky enough to study at an amazing facility http://www.activehealthgroup.co.uk/ for numerous workshops including sports therapy, acupuncture and vacuum cupping – Alexander Boleyn has been my tutor (acupuncture and cupping) and I highly recommend his services if your in Manchester check out http://www.re-creation.org.uk/ and like wise if your looking for any workshops / courses!