Cupping - Essence Acupuncture Wellness - East Asian Medicine Healthcare

Cupping is a technique used to enhance circulation and relieve tightness of the muscle. Suction or heat is applied to either a glass or plastic cup and then placed on the problematic areas. The skin and muscle is then pulled into the suction allowing energy and blood to circulate. Through cupping, impurities are drawn to the surface allowing the body to remove those impurities and stimulate local circulation for healing. Bruising is common and the level of bruising reveals how much tension or stagnation has been built up in those areas. Overtime with consistent treatment, there will be an increase in blood flow and decrease of muscle recovery time. That is why many athletes seek cupping treatments to help improve and keep up performance.

Cupping is beneficial to anyone who has muscle aches ranging from sitting at a computer desk to running marathons.

Cupping can also treat the following conditions:

  • Back pain
  • Headache or migraine
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle pain and soreness
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Asthma or congestion due to the common cold

Cupping existed for thousands of years. Overall, many patients find the treatment relaxing and therapeutic. It allows the muscles and connective tissues to loosen. Cupping is fairly safe and serves as a complementary technique to care.

Cupping FAQ's

Cupping therapy may be intense for some, but for most it has a sedating effect on the nervous system, and many people find it relaxing. Cupping is generally not painful. Some people who suffer from intense pain conditions or other chronic muscular disorders may feel mild discomfort and should mention it immediately so adjustments can be made. After a cupping treatment, typical results include feelings of relief, a decrease in muscle tension, and freedom from pain with an increase in flexibility, and ROM. Many people report that the muscle tension and soreness that was present prior to cupping therapy showed improvement for many hours after the session and some experienced lasting results.

In areas of tissue dysfunction or injury, cupping therapy may occasionally leave a temporary mark, called “sha.” Sha resembles a bruise but is not painful. Traditional Chinese Medicine regards the appearance of “sha” as an indication that toxins and stagnation are being pulled to the surface of the body, allowing for restoration of healthy blood flow, oxygen, and qi to the muscle. If any discolorations surface these are temporary, typically ranging in color from light pink to dark purple and can last anywhere between a few hours to about a week before gradually fading away entirely.

The marks result from dredging stagnation from within bodily tissues. Depending upon the severity of buildup in the body or other conditions, this will determine the color variation. This stagnation can include dead blood cells, old lymph fluid, and toxins that the body has not been able to eliminate via its circulatory system. Your practitioner will be able to make assessments based on the type of marks present after your session. For example, dark, purple marks can mean stagnation and cold. Bubbles and blisters may represent dampness in the body, while pale marks can represent a deficiency.

Believe it or not, we get this question often. Although we can not promise an Olympic winning performance, cupping therapy has some great benefits. In Traditional Chinese medicine, cupping is said to remove stagnation and encourage the flow of “qi” (the body’s vital energy), correcting imbalances as a result of injury, illness, or just everyday living. It provides relief for a variety of conditions including, but not limited to: musculoskeletal pain, tension, anxiety, depression, chronic and acute cough, fever, and insomnia.

For athletes, cupping can make a difference in their performance by improving blood and oxygen flow to help nourish and repair muscle tissue and increase ROM.

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