Cupping is a healing modality used for thousands of years to promote circulation, ease pain, release muscle tension, clear heat and expel toxins. Cupping pulls carbon dioxide and other cell waste from the deeper muscle layer to the surface of the skin, allowing the body to more easily flush out toxins and improve circulation in the local area. Cupping is beneficial for back pain, shoulder tension, improving range of motion, respiratory condition (asthma/bronchitis/common cold), anxiety and stress release.
How does cupping feel?
Clean reusable plastic cups are placed on the neck/shoulders/back using a manual pump, which extracts the air out of the cups and creates suction. The strength of the suction can be adjusted depending on your comfort level. There is a pulling sensation when the cups a placed, which can also feel like a deep massage. Often, the cupping sensation feels relaxing within 1-2 minutes of cup placement, as muscles release tension. The practitioner may remove and re-apply the cups in different areas. As needed, lotion may be applied to the treatment area to help promote suction. The cups remain on your body for 5-15 minutes.
What are those marks?
It is common for cupping to cause red or purple skin discoloration. (You may have seen athletes’ or celebrities’ photos in the media with round cupping marks.) These marks are a normal result of a cupping treatment, rarely cause discomfort, and will usually fade after a few days to a week. The color and pattern of the marks help indicate what is happening in your body.
How do I prepare for cupping?
Make sure you have eaten within 2 hours of your cupping and hydrate well.
Bring or wear a button-down shirt that can be worn with opening in the back, a stretchy tank top, a modest sports bra or another garment that would allow for modesty and back and neck access. Even a shirt with a very wide neck can provide sufficient access to the neck/upper back for cupping.
Bring a warm layer of clothing with you – it is important to keep the cupped area warm and protected after the treatment. Scarves are ideal for keeping it warm because even in the summer the area should not be exposed to direct air conditioning or fans.
Cupping is CONTRAINDICATED if you:
Have a bleeding disorder or bruise easily (due to medication, etc)
Have skin rash or ulcers (non-intact skin) in cupping area
Receiving radiation or chemotherapy
Have had a whiplash injury less than 2 weeks ago
What is the fee for cupping?
Cupping is provided as a separate service for $20 for a session or can be added onto acupuncture for an additional $10, time permitting. Please wear appropriate clothing and notify friends/family of cupping plans so they are forewarned of the cupping marks that may be visible for a few days. The cupping session will take 15-20 minutes. An acupuncture treatment after your cupping session is a great way to combine two powerful therapies because cupping helps to promote circulation so the needles can be more effective.
What should I do after cupping?
Take it easy the rest of the day after your session, or at the very least rest for a few hours.
Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out any toxins from your system, avoid alcohol and other intoxicants.
Avoid extremes of temperature and activity for at least 24 hours after your session.
Make sure to keep the area warm. Think of it as new baby skin that has to be protected from the wind and cold.
How often should I get cupping?
Generally, it is best to wait for your cupping marks to fade before you receive more cupping. Your practitioner can recommend a course of treatment based on your specific complaint, but generally no more than once a week until the symptoms have disappeared.
Why do people like cupping?
Patients report that cupping really helps to ease neck/shoulder tension. For patients with fibromyalgia, cupping helps to reinterpret the pain signals to reduce or eliminate their overactivity.
J.S. states, “Cupping really helps to relax my shoulders when they are feeling all bunched up from hours at my computer.”