Cupping is a term used for a technique, where small glass cups are suctioned onto the skin. There are a few ways that the suction in the cup is created. One method is where an alcohol-soaked cotton ball is lite and quickly placed into a glass cup, creating heat and the cup is then immediately placed on to the skin. Flames are not used during the treatment and never come close to the skin of the patient, but rather used to create heat and a vacuum within the cup.
Once the cups are placed and suction occurs, they remain static or are moved across the skin, also referred to as “gliding or wet cupping”. The suction created by the cups allows the skin and underlying muscle tissue to be drawn up into the cups. This suction is quite relieving and relaxing to patients. Traditional Swedish massage is where pressure is applied to the body, whereas cupping is like a reverse massage, where gentle suction pulls the tissues upwards and away from the body. Once the cups are suctioned in place they typically remain on the body from 5-20 minutes and cups used in a gliding motion may be used for a longer duration.
Traditionally, cupping is often accompanied with acupuncture in a single treatment, but many individuals enjoy cupping therapy on its own. When tissues are cupped, there is a negative pressure created, which allows soft tissues such as; muscle, connective tissue, ligaments, tendons and any adhesions that have developed within muscle, to loosen and relax. This suction also encourages an increase in blood circulation to the tissues and has a calming effect on the nervous system, making this an effective treatment for individuals suffering from high blood pressure.
Much like acupuncture, cupping is used along energy pathways, known as meridians in Chinese medicine. Cups are placed along these meridians to help relax and open these channels and balance energy (qi), allowing a smooth and unobstructed flow to occur.
Cupping therapy is one of the best deep tissue treatments offered. The nature of the suction can affect tissues up to 4 inches deep, beginning from the superficial layers of skin and drawing up deeper layers of underlying tissues.
This allows blockages, adhesions, toxins and impurities to be removed from the body and fresh blood and nutrients to be delivered.
Cupping has also been quite effective in relieving respiratory issues, such as; coughing and congestion in the lungs, phlegm accumulation from colds and flus and to help control asthma. Cupping is most commonly requested to aid in respiratory concerns.
Flash cupping is exactly what it sounds like, quick and short intervals of movement. With this treatment glass cups are placed on the body for approximately 5 seconds and then quickly removed once the pressure in the cup is released. This is done repeatedly up to 50 times on the section of tissue or body that needs healing. Flash cupping is highly effective in allowing the tissue being worked on to remain in an increased state of oxygen supply, promoting healthy blood circulation. Most often it is chosen to decrease pain, increase blood flow and help reduce numbness. This technique is done multiple times in one area or throughout the body until the tissue becomes flushed and tension has decreased. To complete the flash cupping treatment, gentle gliding cupping massage is performed to help calm and relax the engaged tissues helping to stimulate and promote and increase in blood circulation.
Cupping therapy causes broken capillaries (blood vessels) to occur, resulting in temporary circular rings and bruising. The intensity of these marks directly relates to the tissue health of each person. The darker the colouring such as, black or purple the more toxic the tissue. The dark pigment formed is old or stagnant blood that has been released and brought up to the skins surface by way of the suctioning from the cups. These circular rings typically disappear within 1-5 days and vary for each person depending on their tissue health an intensity of the cupping treatment.
Clover offers cupping therapy in combination with massage as well as a stand-alone treatment. It is often chosen by individuals who are intolerant or fearful of acupuncture or needles and is an excellent therapy to help reduce muscle pain, restrictions and promote blood circulation.