An ancient technique is finding its place in the modern world of healing here in Winnipeg. Cupping massage is a modified version of the common practice of cupping therapy, used in traditional Chinese medicine and the results that this treatment produces are impressive.
The therapeutic applications of cupping have been documented through several thousand years of clinical experience. Cupping is used extensively in Chinese Medicine and has now been safely adapted to use in massage therapy.
How Does Cupping Therapy Work?
Cupping massage is used in combination with other massage techniques like deep tissue massage at Corydon Physiotherapy and Massage clinic. Discussion and assessment with one of our massage therapists will help customize a treatment program for you.
- Cupping is a technique whereby a vacuum is created in a cup, drawing the skin up into the cup and separating the layers of skin, muscle and fascia. The suction draws the blood to the level of the skin, creating a vacuum below the skin, mechanically separating the tissue layers which destroys old blood vessels and creates new ones. Client will most likely be left with a mark from the cupping that will look like a bruise but it isn’t. No breaks in the skin are created and it is a perfectly safe and sterile procedure. Blood is drawn between the skin layers and can last for up to two weeks. When the cup is left on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed and localized healing takes place.
- The suction and negative pressure of the cups rapidly provides rigid soft tissue release by loosening and lifting connective tissue. This release of tissue breaks up and drains stagnant tissue fluid while increasing blood flow and lymph flow to the skin and muscles. The pulling action of the cups also engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows for deep relaxation of the mind and body.
- As a part of Chinese medicine and therapy, cupping has been used to further open the meridians of the body. Meridians are channels in the body through which energy flows. Meridians are well known in the study of acupuncture. There are five meridians on the back. Once these meridians are opened, energy can travel the whole length of the body. Cupping is one of the best ways to open these meridians!
- Research has shown that cupping can effect up to four inches deep into the tissues to activate the lymphatic system, clear stagnation within the tissue, and release built up toxins.
What Is The Explanation Of The Marks Or Discolorations That Sometimes Occur As A Result From Cupping Therapy?
One of the common and unfortunate misconceptions of cupping is that it causes bruising. This is false. A bruise is caused by trauma in which there is breakage of the capillaries. There is no compression in cupping therapy and therefore no bruise. The discolorations are more like a hickey. When a condition exists where sufficient pathologic factors and stagnant fluids are present and a vacuum is applied to the area, a discoloration will appear on the skin as the stagnation is brought up to the surface. This is the therapeutically desired effect. Healthy tissue does not discolor. Massage cupping is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out, it does not add to it.
The Effects of Cupping Therapy
- Reduces pain from muscle spasm, cramps, and tightness
- Reduces pain by breaking up adhesions and chronic scar tissue and loosens layers of tissue
- Increases range of motion of joints in the area and reduces stiffness
- Increases the function of sebaceous and sweat glands allowing the skin to breath
- Brings fresh blood to the muscles
- Has effects on the nervous system which allows relaxation and reduces stress
- Accelerates healing of injured muscles
- A favorite area for massage cupping is on the broad area of the back. Larger cups are used for this, and a strong vacuum will mimic the rolling action of deep-tissue massage without any discomfort. The movement may be long and intended to drain fluid, or circular and stimulating for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue. The skin will turn red with strong massage cupping, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface.
Cupping Massage has been passed down from many generations of Chinese healing culture. It is one of many types of massage techniques that are used by our massage therapists. Assessment by one of our professional massage therapists will determine what techniques are best for a particular person's condition. Patients are also encouraged to ask about various massage strategies.
Kelly Milan, PT ©