Beth Connor explains the value, history and benefits of Cupping Massage (suction cup therapy).


What is cupping massage?

When most people think of massage, they think of deep pressure pushing into muscles to relieve tension. Cupping therapy is just the opposite. This remarkable therapy employs negative pressure, rather than tissue compression (think: pull, not push), for superior results in the wide array of bodywork techniques. Suction cup therapy is a traditional, time-honored treatment that still remains favored by millions of people worldwide because it is safe, comfortable and remarkably effective for many health disorders.

Cupping uses suction cup therapy to create negative pressure that releases rigid soft tissue, drains excess fluids and toxins, loosens adhesion, lifts and smooths connective tissue, and brings blood flow to stagnant skin and muscles.

How does it work differently than a regular massage?

In most cupping sessions, results from the cups are comparable to other expensive and painful treatments that usually require mechanical or surgical methods to deliver results. The pulling action engages the parasympathetic nervous system, thus allowing a deeper relaxation to move throughout the entire body. Clients often remark how relaxed, free, and open their body feels after a session. The results last for days in most cases instead of just a few hours.

Traditional pressure massages, like myofascial release, are direct, and effective correct application addresses a myriad of debilitating and stubborn conditions in the short term. These types are massages usually take cumulative and regular treatments to restructure the myofascial bands are possible. Cupping therapy can do the same work, but more efficiently! One cupping massage has the impact of three deep tissue massages! Also, they provide lymphatic stimulation and drainage that myofascial release cannot!

Where did cupping massage come from?

The value and efficacy of suction cup therapy has been documented through several thousand years of historical, clinical, and subjective research. Now, with the influence and growing popularity of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and other holistic healing methodologies – Cupping Therapy has reemerged in the Western Holistic Community as a subtle, yet remarkable and highly effective healing therapy. Many cultures have practiced cupping, including various indigenous tribes in Africa, Asia, Pacific Islanders, Europeans, and the Americas. The Egyptians have used cupping dating as far back as 1550 BC, and even wrote about it in one the oldest medicinal textbooks known to man, Ebers Papyrus. This manuscript described the systemic use of cups for conditions such as, fever, pain, vertigo, menstrual imbalances, weakened conditions and accelerating the healing crisis in disease.

What benefits does cupping provide?

The benefits to Cupping Therapy are many! Cupping helps remove cellular wastes, like carbon dioxide and lactic acid, from tissues. The waste can become stagnant in our blood, and our bodies are flooded with so many chemicals on a daily basis that it is harder now for our bodies to excrete them through the liver and circulatory systems. This stagnation will lead to the pain and discomfort we feel as we get older. When the blood and qi circulate properly, they remove this build up. By pulling the stagnation out of the tissues and bringing it to the skin surface, the pores expand discharging some these wastes and toxins, and the rest is then more accessible to the body’s circulatory and lymphatic systems to flush out.

By creating negative pressure above the surface of the tissues, the decrease in atmospheric pressure allows the tissues below to be lifted upwards – increasing the space for the underlying structures. This is a far more superior bodywork treatment because more can be accomplished in one session of cupping than several sessions of tissue compression. The suction of the cups rapidly facilitates rigid soft tissue release by pulling it up and away from underlying structures, thus loosening areas of adhesion or restriction. It activates muscle spindle reflexes that relax contractile tissue and retrains the myofascial structures. The tissue will soften quickly, activating the secretion of synovial fluids to release joint stiffness in ways not possible using the pressure of traditional massage. It also creates localized expansion of tissue, producing a profound vasodilation reaction by drawing blood flow to areas of ischemic pain, raising skin temperature, promoting metabolism within the skin tissue for better functioning of sweat and sebaceous glands, flushing capillary beds, draining stagnant blood, toxins and lymph, and re-supplying vital nutrients.

Cupping Therapy effects every organ and organ system of the body. Everyone should try cupping therapy at least once in their life to get a better understanding of what it is and how it can treat whatever ailment may be of discomfort.

Interested in scheduling a cupping session with Beth? Call our spa 404.528.1483!

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