You've probably heard about it, but might not have tried it yet... because... well, it kind of looks like some sort of strange torture. But it's not! It's actually quite wonderful! It stimulates blood flow, relaxes your muscles and can be beneficial for many ailments from pain and stress to nasal congestion. Woah.
A little history: Cupping is an effective therapy commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. However more and more people are learning about it and benefitting from it. One of the earliest documentations of cupping can be found in the work titled A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, written by a Taoist herbalist by the name of Ge Hong which dates back to 300 AD. Originally, cupping was used to treat diseases such as tuberculosis and similar treatments were used by ancient Egyptians, North American Indians, Greeks, and other Asian and European countries.
So.. what's it like to experience?
During a cupping session, the therapist uses the suction of glass cups (occasionally bamboo or plastic cups) to pull blood up into the affected tissue. The negative pressure they create causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup which creates a tight, but often quite relieving sensation. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage - rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. The size and number of cups used depends on the area of the body used and the intensity of suction needed. The cups are left in place for several minutes and sometimes the therapist will move them around on your back in a gliding motion.
Ok but will I leave looking like I was just attacked by an octopus?
Yep. One thing to know about cupping is that although it is a safe and very effective technique, you will probably leave your session with round bruises over the treated area. You'll usually see distinctive pink, red or purple circles or streaks where they were placed which may last for a few days.
Cupping stimulates blood flow and relaxes your muscles. It is a wonderful treatment for many conditions including stress, pain relief, anxiety and muscle aches. It also enhances circulation and pulls toxins from your body tissues and can clear congestion and even help to control asthma.
Although it may look and sound like an unusual treatment, once you try it you'll understand why cupping is gaining popularity among those of us who want to remain active and feel great. So give it a try!
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
Embody Wellness offers cupping as an add-on to any massage appointment for $5. Your session will be customized to your needs and ailments by suggestion from your Licenced Massage Therapist. For more information call (805) 217-3307.