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I have remained intrigued by cupping and its therapeutic applications since I first experienced it 20 years ago. I have experienced great improvement in my own body through receiving Cupping. I often incorporate Cupping in my massage treatments by client request or as part of a required treatment.
Most massage involves the application of compressive pressure directed into or along the bodies tissues. This type of pressure can be termed ‘push’. The opposing pressure that works synergistically and complementary to ‘push’, is ‘pull’. Cupping provides the opportunity to apply ‘pull’ pressure, which can increase the beneficial outcomes of the overall treatment.
Cupping has many benefits and can be used on a wide variety of ailments. It can be used just about anywhere on the body. The areas that I most commonly use cupping on are backs, hips, glutes, shoulders, sides of upper legs and base of feet. Occasionally I use it on arms, necks and knees.
Cupping can assist the healing of many conditions such as Frozen shoulder (Adhesive capsulitis), Plantar fasciitis (overtight sole of the foot), tight/stiff backs & shoulders as well as areas of the body that lack mobility such as hips, all areas of the back and glutes. It is an excellent support method used to improve joint range of motion.
I have also successfully used Cupping to support post-surgery trauma of scar tissue and inactive bodies. My treatments have resulted in beneficial improvement in clients where radiation has been used to treat cancer. Radiation will often lead to burning of tissues and will affect the fascia or connective tissue that overlays and runs through muscles and joints. The sticking down of tissue post-radiation is known as adhesions. In this situation, cupping allows for the fascia to be drawn up and out, releasing the adhesions and improving blood flow and lymphatic drainage. This allows the body to renew itself and heal effectively.
In some cultures, Cupping is used to relieve the duration and severity of colds & flu as well as chest infections. I have been fortunate to have studied this technique directly with a senior Greek women (YiaYia). I have also studied these and other techniques with other cultural practitioners and healers.
The use of cupping as a supportive therapy to aid in the healing of illness, physical ailments and dysfunctions goes back thousands of years. Many ancient civilisations & cultures used various types of cups such as animal horn cups, bamboo cups & copper cups. Most people at some stage in their lives have replicated cupping through creating suction using their mouths to draw out a sting, venom or to cleanse a wound. This is a natural reaction when there is no other available option at the time.
Cupping has been used throughout China, Russia, Asia and numerous other European countries for over 3000 years.
The most common form of cupping utilised in modern times is flame cupping using glass cups. A piece of cotton wool is wound tightly around the end of a pair of forceps (clamp) scissors. The cotton is then dipped into methylated spirits and lit. The resulting flame is inserted into the opening of the cup to draw out oxygen, thus creating a vacuum. The cup is placed upon the area of need, resulting in suction drawing up the tissues into the cup. This style of cupping is referred to as flame cupping.
There are a variety of flame cupping techniques. These include stationary cupping; where the cups are left in one position for an extended period, flash cupping; where the cup is placed on and off the area repeatedly in quick succession and sliding cupping; where the area is pre-oiled and the cup is slid along back and forth.
The cups that I use are all washed and sterilised between uses. I use three sizes; small, medium & large. The different sized cups are used for different areas of the body and conditions.
WILL IT HURT?
Cupping is usually painless, unless a client has an extreme pain sensitivity in an area. Prior to cupping, I always assess the clients condition and massage the affected area first to assist in loosening the affected area.
Cups can be applied at different pressure levels. I rate these from 1 – 5. Pressure 1 is a heavy amount of suction that draws a lot of tissue up. Pressure 5 is light and hardly noticeable. Different pressures are used and applied for different body types and ailments. The client is always consulted as to the nature of the cupping that is required, prior to application.
A CUPPING MARK IS NOT A BRUISE
Cups draw sluggish, slow or stagnant blood flow to the skins surface through the application of suction. The body can then flush it or eliminate it from the system. This can also be known as blood stasis or a blockage in the flow of blood to the tissues. When there is an accumulation of blood stagnation the body will be sore, stiff & tight. There may also be excess heat or excess cold in the tissues of the area. Blood stasis will often occur in people who are overworked, have poor diets, don’t drink enough water, are recovering from cold & flu or are excessively physically tired.
Cupping marks are temporary and will usually fade and disappear within 3 – 5 days. Marks can last longer, depending of the severity of the individuals issue.
Myofascial cupping is generally safe for most people however patients are required to inform practitioners about conditions such as pregnancy, pacemakers, a history of vascular diseases such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or varicose veins, open wounds, and the use of blood thinners or immunosuppressant medications prior to the treatment.
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