The art of cupping

Derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine and dating back thousands of years, cupping is a form of acupuncture therapy that utilizes heat within a glass cup to create a vacuum effect once it has been placed on to the skin. During the Fourth Century, it was common for the practitioner to use hollowed out animal horns to perform this unique form of treatment. Nowadays, glass cups are the preferred method of delivery as they enable the modern-day acupuncturist the ability to view the skin and evaluate the effects.

Once the cups have been applied, they are normally left for 10-15 minutes whilst the client relaxes. This process provides a particularly relieving sensation and is known as one of the best deep-tissue therapies available, affecting tissues within four inches deep from the external layer of skin.

The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can cause effects of released muscle tension, improved blood flow and sedation of the nervous system (which makes it an ideal treatment option for high blood pressure). Furthermore, cupping will aid in reducing cellulite and improving skin quality – creating an overall healthier appearance.

Similarly to acupuncture, cupping targets the body’s inner meridian channels. In doing so, cupping enables the channels to open, thus creating a more fluent-flowing Qi (energy force) throughout the body. Generally, cupping is employed as a complimentary technique during remedial and musculoskeletal treatment, rather than a solitary treatment. Another fine example of multiple Health Place treatments effectively being used to enhance results.

It is particularly common for cupping to leave visible marks and discolorations on the surface of the skin; they are not bruises. Most bruises are a result of impact trauma that causes blood to leak from damaged capillaries, this is not the case for cupping as there is no compression during a typical cupping session (our therapists are very well-trained). The suction will release lactic acid from within the muscles and also lift negative Qi, toxins and stagnant fluid to the skin’s surface –  causing discolorations that will usually clear within 2-7 days. These residual marks will considerably lessen as you advance through your treatment sessions.

 “The colour, amount, shape, and speed of what emerges to the surface vary according to the severity of the client’s blood stasis.  For instance, white or greyish discolorations reflect poor Qi (energy), yellow in the cup shows phlegm excess, speckling on skin reflect toxins in the blood, and a purple/blackish colour reflects blood stagnation.”

-The International Cupping Therapy Association

At our James Street location, we have two resident acupuncturists who are highly qualified to practice cupping. If you’re intrigued by this natural health technique and interested in adding it to your treatment repertoire, simply mention your interest to our reception team upon booking your next appointment. Alternatively, if you have any queries, we’d love to hear from you via email or Facebook.

Written by Laura Braulins, James Street Reception Team