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WHAT IS Cupping Therapy?

Cupping Therapy or Cupping for short, utilizes tools referred to as "cups" made of glass or polycarbonite to create suction on the body surface.  

The negative suction creates a gentle “separation” in the underlying tissues. This gentle pulling combined with with cup movement brings in a flood of H2O to dehydrated or "knotted" and tight tissues such as muscle and connective tissues.  The suction can be incrementally controlled to provide very light to very deep results.

What does Cupping feel like?
 Cupping has been described as "A deep release",  "Getting an itch scratched but from the inside out.", "Not painful at all." and "Amazing!" While the feeling of MediCupping is not easily describable, the techniques are designed to create different effects from sedating to invigorating. Cups are moved over the skin using gliding, shaking, popping and rotating techniques while gently pulling up on the cup.  

What are some common reactions from Cupping Therapies?
 Discoloration due to old blood and toxins being brought to the surface. 
The colors that may arise from cupping tell a "story" of the history of the tissues.  Remember that time you fell off you bicycle as a kid or hit your shin on the bed frame?  Most likely that area will be a purple shade cup mark (indicating that old blood has been brought to the surface).  Did you recently injure your arm?  Most likely the injury site will be a shade of red (indicating that blood has not settled).  In either event.. its a normal and beneficial way for the Lymphatic System to move and clean toxins uncovered by the loosening of tight tissue. Discolorations may be blue, purple, red or dark gray.  Discolorations of the  skin's  surface may be blotchy and spread out or in the shape of circles. The discolorations may be present 1 - 5 days.
 Itching redness or increased heat on skin: due to increase vasodilation or    inflammation brought to the surface
 Decreased blood pressure: due to vasodilation and nervous system sedation

 Next day body tenderness: usually less then deep tissue work.

 Cramping in legs during treatment: due to not being hydrated before treatment.

Cupping Therapy Safety
  • People with pacemakers of similar devices in the body may receive work but not direct work on the device.
  • Clients with a history or blood clots or bleeding shoud consult with their doctor before receiving MediCupping or massage therapy.
  • Clients on blood thinners or diabetes will only receive light MediCupping
  • Drink electrolyte based water to avoid becoming dehydrated in and after treatment.
Evolution of Cupping Therapy Brief

   Cupping Therapy, commonly referred to as Cupping, has been around for thousands of years (earliest record of use 281-341 A.D!).  Some consider the Chinese to be responsible for cupping, however, the earliest pictorials date back to the ancient Egyptians around 1500 B.C. Hollowed out animal horns were used to remove snake venom or skin ailment by a fellow tribe member. 

    Horns slowly evolved into bamboo cups, which were eventually replaced by glass.  The Chinese expanded the utilization of cupping to include its use in surgery to divert blood flow from the surgery site.  In the 1950’s, after much extensive research, a collaborative effort between the former Soviet Union and China confirmed the clinical efficacy of cupping therapy. Since then, cupping has become a mainstay of government-sponsored hospitals of Traditional Chinese medicine.

   Therapeutic Cupping applications evolved with the refinement of the cup itself and it’s means of measure.   In the 1990’s, MediCupping was developed to soften radiation burns of mastectomy patients.  Massage Therapists and other wellness professionals such as Physical Therapists began to include various forms of cupping including MediCupping in treatment for its decompression effects. 

In recent years, studies have shown that many forms of cupping effective for treating neck, back and hip pain.   

***The information above contains partial excerpts from from author Anita Shannon
She is an internationally recognized massage therapist, lecturer, author, and the leading authority on Massage cupping(tm) and MediCupping(tm).  Anita is the Director of Advanced Continuing Education (ACE), an NCBTMB CE provider established in 2001, and has presented countless workshops on ACE Massage Cupping™ and MediCupping™.