Cupping Therapy: What to Expect?
Cupping is a therapy that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, but has recently become popular with the help of prominent athletes and health-conscious celebrities, with many “showing off” red circular marks (not bruises!) all over their body.
What is cupping?
Cupping involves the application of specially designed ‘cups’ to the skin through the use of heat or a suction method to create a subatmospheric pressure, allowing the cups to remain on the skin without falling off.
At Lang Acupuncture and Holistic Health, we may use dry cupping to support the treatments of our patients in the Jindalee and outer Brisbane area. We use smooth cups made of glass, whereby we place cups on your skin along acupuncture channels or meridian points. When the cups are placed on the skin, a gentle suction occurs that draws your skin upward into the cup. This does not break the skin at any time in the process.
What does cupping feel like? Does it hurt?
As the skin is drawn up into the cup the suction can feel tight initially, but is not painful. This initial tightness will start to reduce after a few minutes as the cups start to stretch out the fascia and blood flow to the area is increased. The level of suction can be adjusted by your registered acupuncturist, to ensure that you are feeling comfortable. Generally, we find that the tighter the muscles around the area of cupping the tighter the muscles will feel initially.
At our Jindalee acupuncture clinic, we use glass cups and use heat to create the vacuum that allows the cups to stay on the skin - this is traditionally called ‘fire cupping’. We like to apply oils to the skin prior to cupping as this makes the cupping process more comfortable. The number of cups used will depend on what is being treated. If it’s your first time cupping, your acupuncturist will likely use fewer cups for a less intense treatment.
Your acupuncturist at Lang Acupuncture Jindalee will put the cups in place for 10-15 minutes, depending on your specific need and treatment goals. When it is time to remove the cups, your therapist will release the pressure from the cup and set it aside. The release of the pressure often feels calming.
How effects does cupping therapy have?
The vacuum that is formed by the cups on your skin loosens and lifts, which increases blood and lymph flow to your skin and muscles. With this increased blood flow brings oxygen rich blood to nourish stagnant muscles and skin, enhance the flow of energy, stimulate the peripheral nervous system and activate the lymphatic system. Additionally, this action is thought to drain excess toxins, loosen adhesions in connective tissues and muscles.
What are the red cupping marks?
Cupping marks are NOT bruises. Bruises occur when capillaries near the skin's surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury. There is no compression/blow or impact trauma when cupping is performed correctly. The cupping marks are a result of blood being pulled to the area being cupped. The darker the colour the more stagnant fluids (toxins, blood and lymph) were "filtered" up by the suction of the cups placed on the skin. The cupping marks can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. The more often you receive cupping for the same issue, the lighter the cupping marks will be. This is because cupping helps to reduce the 'stagnation' in the body that may be contributing to your pain and discomfort.
Cupping Therapy Aftercare
Stay hydrated! Staying hydrated supports the lymphatic system to flush out any of your body's toxins
Ensure the areas that were cupped are covered and protected from wind and cold
Wait 2 hours after cupping before showering
Avoid alcohol - we are trying to clear toxins and stagnant fluids in the body
You may feel fatigued after the session - this is normal. It’s your body processing and expelling toxins that were released during your cupping session. Make sure to listen to your body if this happens - rest, chill and practise good self-care!
Lang Acupuncture and Holistic Health - Book an Appointment
Lang Acupuncture and Holistic Health is a Jindalee acupuncture clinic located in the Centenary suburbs of Brisbane. We have clients that come from all over Brisbane, including Kenmore, Indooroopilly, Graceville, Sherwood, Oxley, Mount Ommaney, Ipswich, Annerley, Chapel Hill, Jamboree Heights, Sinnamon Park etc.
Al-bedah, A. M., Aboushanab, T. S., Alquaed, M. S., Qureshi, N. A., Suhaibani, I., Ibrahim, G., Khalil, M. (2016). Classification of Cupping Therapy: A Tool for Modernization and Standardization. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medical Research, 1(1). https//doi.org/10.9734/JOCAMR/2-16/27222.
Hanan, S. A & Eman, S. E. (2013). Cupping Therapy (Al-Hijama): It’s Impact on Persistent Non-Specific Lower Back Pain and Client Disability. Life Science Journal, 10(4s), 631-642. Retrieved via: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eman-Hussein-8/publication/342961816_Cupping_Therapy_Al-Hijama_It's_Impact_on_Persistent_Non-Specific_Lower_Back_Pain_and_Client_Disability/links/5f0f63ad92851c1eff1240dc/Cupping-Therapy-Al-Hijama-Its-Impact-on-Persistent-Non-Specific-Lower-Back-Pain-and-Client-Disability.pdf