Cupping is another treatment which originates in ancient China. Cupping is often compared to other treatments like acupuncture or treatments with leeches. They have in common a few things which is the ability to treat the deep layers of skin and improve the blood flow. However, these treatments are performed absolutely different. When I was a kid I remember my parents used cupping on me to treat me from cold. I remember that it was a very pleasant treatment and some why I was proud with the black/red circle on my back which I had after the treatment. To be honest since than I didn’t do this type of treatment and today I want to find out what cupping actually means.
What is cupping massage?
Cupping massage has its roots from traditional Chinese medicine. The massage is basically done using glass cups which create vacuum seals on different areas on the body. The resulting suction created by the glass cups brings blood closer to the skin surface and in the process produces a relaxing effect that expels negative energies. Contrary to many peoples’ believes cupping isn’t painful. The aftermath of the massage however, leaves the recipient with circular cup bruises on parts of the body where the glass cups were applied.
I like the description of the three types of cupping at Health Means Wealth, because it is short and straight to the point.
Cupping is of three types:
• Dry cupping – This is the process of using a vacuum on different areas of the body in order to gather the blood in that area without incisions (small, light scratches using a sterile surgical blade or).
• Dry massage cupping – This is similar to dry cupping but olive oil is applied to the skin (before applying the cups) in order to allow easy movement of the cups.
• Wet cupping – This is the process of using a vacuum at different points on the body but with small incisions in order to remove ‘harmful’ blood which lies just beneath the surface of the skin. (It is recommended that wet cupping is only administered by a cupping therapist).
How does cupping massage work?
The mechanism of cupping massage revolves around the traditional bamboo or glass massage cups used for massaging. The massage cups are usually made in different sizes. Before massaging, a cotton ball is usually soaked in alcohol and then lit to produce a flame which is kept burning for a while in the cup. Once the flame has burnt for a while, the flame is inverted and the cup is placed immediately on the recipient’s body. This quick action creates a negative pressure i.e. a vacuum inside the cup. The resultant vacuum in return pulls the skin slightly into the cup producing a very relaxing effect. The entire procedure lasts from 5 to 15 minutes, which will depend on the condition being treated.
If the suction is kept really strong, the resultant effect can be similar to that produced by an actual massage. Cupping massage movements like normal massages can be adjusted in different ways to produce stimulating and draining circular movements. This however depends on the area being massaged and the tissue types being massaged. After a few minutes, cupping massage makes the skin turn red which is an indication that the suction effectively brought blood circulation nearer to the surface of the skin. Increases blood supply on the skin surface has numerous benefits. Below are some of the benefits.
What are the benefits of cupping massage?
1. Improved energy flow
Traditional Chinese medicine incorporated cupping massage in order to improve the flow of energy in the body. The resultant cupping massage bruises are commonly associated with the expulsion of negative energy elements. A healthy energy flow in the body improves both the mental and physical well being of a person.
2. Pain relief
Cupping massage is also beneficial to the body because it relieves the body off pain. Most people who have had cupping massages before attest to the fact that cupping massage actually relieves chronic pain and also helps to improve motion on injured areas. The massage is therefore an effective pain reliever.
3. Loosening muscles
Cupping massages like other massages help to loosen stiff muscles. This can be attributed to the fact that cupping brings blood to upper body areas in the process softening underlying muscle tissues. This in turn increases flexibility producing better mobility.
Cupping massage like other massages is incredibly relaxing. The movement of the cups around the body accompanied by minor body strokes is very relaxing. Although cupping massage targets just a few areas of the body, the overall effect is relaxing to the whole body.
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