Cupping therapy has been around for thousands of years. Over the past few years, it has become increasingly popular in bodywork and wellness but some seem to be intimidated by it and are turned off by the marks the cups can leave. The first time I experienced cupping and found it to be relieving in a way traditional massage wasn’t. It gave me the benefits of a deep tissue massage without the pain/pressure. The marks went away quickly and caused no pain. Offering it as a service has also taken some strain off of my body. There are a few types of cups that a therapist can use; glass, bamboo, hard plastic and silicone. All of them either use fire or a suction pump; the silicone cups you manually squeeze and allow the cup to open on the skin. Dry cupping uses suction only, wet cupping uses suction and medicinal bleeding. (I do not practice wet cupping!) The vacuum/negative pressure created pulls your skin into the cup and expands your blood vessels creating a reddening (sometimes as dark as deep purple) on your skin. The surge of blood flow to the area allows the muscles to get adequate blood and lymph flow (creating healthier muscle tissue) and some believe it allows stagnant blood to move around and come to the surface. The amount of time the cup is left on varies but can be anywhere from 5-10 minutes. While the cup is on, the sensation can feel tight, warm, tingly and sometimes itchy due to the increase in blood flow.
Okay, so you decide that cupping is for you, how does it flow into the massage? I begin the massage as I would any other, applying oil and warming the area. I’ll apply the cups and begin by gliding them over the muscles and then eventually placing them statically. After your treatment, you will likely have some marks left behind; they don't hurt and typically go away within 5-10 days. The first day following you may feel sore, but nothing out of the ordinary and then you should feel some major relief.
Cupping is a $5 add on to any treatment and is generally spot specific.