Do you notice many athletes at the Rio Olympics with large red circles all over their skin? The marks are the result of Cupping therapy, a technique using suction cups that has been practised throughout Asia like ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures for thousands of years.
Do you know what Cupping therapy is and why it is so popular to treat on athletes？
What is Cupping therapy?
Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine, in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction, depends on the reaction of your skin . A cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (either by heat or suction) in order to draw and hold skin and superficial muscles inside the cup.
By creating a Negative Pressure (tensional) above the surface of the tissues, we decrease the atmospheric pressure allowing the tissue to be lifted and thus causing changes in pressure beneath the skin including the muscle and surrounding fascia.
The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation.
There are two methods of cupping process to perform.
Methods of Cupping
- Fixed cupping: Once suctioned, cups are generally left in place for ten minutes although the time can range from five to fifteen minutes. The skin will redden due to the congestion of blood flow. Some bruising on the skin where the rim of the cup is to be expected.
- Gliding cupping: Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin. Importantly, the gliding technique creates a traditional MFR technique (push/compression effect) using the leading rim of the cup, which is then followed by a ‘lifting’ negative pressure over the same area (pull effect).
What is the benefits of Cupping?
The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Nevertheless, Cupping can affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing the tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, clear colon blockages, activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries.
- Alleviate back and neck pains, muscles tension and stiffness
- Relieve anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite
- Promote relaxation and break tension
- Improve blood circulation
- Good for deep tissue repair
- Help activate the lymphatic system
- Helps treat respiratory issues and colds
- Health Promotion: help to align and relax Qi
- Cupping is based on the meridian theory of the body. Cupping removes any stagnation in the body and opens the meridians so that Qi can flow freely. Additionally, it also helps to rejuvenate certain meridians and organs that are not functioning at their best.
What is side effect of Cupping? Who cannot have cupping therapy?
- The caution of Cupping therapy
Cupping should be moved on fleshy areas of the body and should not be used on inflamed skin, where there is a high fever, convulsions or an increased tendency to bruise, or on the abdominal.
Cupping is fairly safe, as long as you go to a trained health professional. But you could have these side effects in the area where the cups touch your skin:
- Mild discomfort
- Skin infection
After cupping we recommend the area remain covered and away from fans, heaters or air conditioning. And do not taking shower in 2 hours. Drink plenty of water.
Am I suitable for Cupping therapy?
Cupping therapy produces painless results similar to deep tissue work.If you do not like hard pressure massage but need to relive the pain or stiffness of muscles, Cupping therapy is recommended.
For some patients, they have many deep tissue and trigger point treatments, but still can not alleviate the muscular pain, we will recommend them to try Cupping therapy which lifting and separating soft tissue technique rather then compression techniques.
However, there are some contraindications of Cupping therapy,
- Slipped disc – Cupping can cause the disc to move due to the negative pressure
- Cancer (minimum remission of 5 years) – Cupping can interfere with the treatment and medication prescribed by the oncologist. Always consult your doctor before applying any form of complimentary therapies after the 5 year remission
- Blood disorders – Cupping therapy stimulates blood supply, which may not be advised where there are blood disorders and prescribed medications present
- Hemorrhagic diseases such as hemophilia and leukemia
- Weak, ulcerated or broken skin (locally) – Cupping can exert pressure and cause bleeding of the already fragile tissues
- Phlebitis – Cupping therapy may interfere with the prescribed treatment or medication by the physician and speed up the removal of infection which may worsen symptoms experienced by the patient
- Renal failure, Heart disease, and cirrhosis of the liver or history
- Diabetes – Diabetics bruise easily and have slow healing capability, which may cause undesired complications
- Patient on blood thinning medication (anti-coagulants) – Cupping therapy increases blood flow, and this fact may interfere with prescribed medications dosages and blood levels
It is very important to consult with your qualified therapist. Lucky for us here at Alternative Body Works, Lisa has a Double Diploma and is trained in Cupping. Please call us on 08 89410810 to book your appointment today or book online.