What is Cupping Massage?

Cupping massage or cupping therapy is a kind of Chinese medicine that involves placing a series of cups across your body. You will have an evaluation meeting to discuss the kind of treatment you are seeking and for what reasons. A cupping massage therapist will use the cups over the affected areas with the intention of healing through the suction action.

The practice is based on the theory that this balances the "chi" or life force through the body, as the area is healed through improved blood flow.

What Does Cupping Massage Treat?  

You can think of cupping as another type of massage therapy that is used to treat muscle pain and tension. Just like a Swedish massage or hot stone therapy, it's merely another method of targeting specific areas to get the blood flowing, release pressure, and remove toxins via the lymphatic system.

This ancient therapy may be used to treat all kinds of illnesses, diseases, or ailments, including:

  • Muscle aches
  • Digestive problems
  • Skin problems
  • Herpes
  • Facial paralysis
  • Circulation problems

If you have a specific and chronic problem and you're wondering whether or not this type of therapy will work to treat it, you will need to get a consultation by a trusted professional to determine if you're a good candidate.

Types of Cupping Massage

If you've never experienced a cupping massage and you go in for the first time, you may be surprised to know that there are a few different techniques, the main two being dry cupping and wet cupping.

  • Dry cupping, the most popular type among North Americans, uses a pump to create the suction.
  • Fire cupping is when you have a flame in the cup before putting it on the skin, and then the cooling air is what creates the cupping.
  • Wet cupping involves making small cuts on the skin before the cups are placed over it, then drawing blood through the cuts.

Your practitioner will be able to tell the condition of your body and skin by what colour that the area turns.

Chinese medicine practitioners may also choose to use acupuncture in combination with cupping.

Does Cupping Massage Work?

There is some evidence suggesting that cupping may resolve pain such as neck tension; however, research is currently limited. In any case, people generally report less pain and pressure in treated areas, which are typically the upper, middle, and lower back.

Is Cupping Massage Safe?

Side effects of cupping can be similar to that of a massage in that you may feel slightly nauseous or dizzy after a treatment. Also, you will see circular marks around the cup area, which may be slightly bruised.

If you are pregnant, menstruating, have skin conditions, heart or kidney disease, for instance, the therapist may not want to go ahead with the treatment. Qualified practitioners will perform a thorough assessment to check for any potential safety issues before moving forward with the treatment.

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