As many of you know, I LOVE cupping and use it often in my
practice. It feels amazing, its deep therapeutic effects last for weeks, and the hickeys left behind are a great conversation starter. You may recall seeing images of Gwyneth Paltrow sporting cupping marks on a red carpet in 2004 – oh, the gossip that ensued!
What exactly is cupping, you ask? Cupping is an ancient therapy using suction cups on the body to relieve pain, promote circulation, enhance detoxification, activate the lymphatic system, and facilitate movement of qi and blood within. Traditionally, a flame is used to draw air out of a glass, ceramic, or bamboo cup. The cup is then quickly placed on the body, most often the back, allowing the suction to pull tissue, toxins, blood and qi up to the body’s surface. At Nature Cures Clinic, we use plastic cups with a handheld pump (like those pictured to the left) to precisely adjust the amount of suction used.
I find cupping most effective when used in conjunction with acupuncture, and apply it frequently to treat:
- Neck & Back Pain
- Stress & Anxiety
- Muscle pain
- Sluggish detoxification, digestion, and metabolism
Don’t be detoured by the painful-looking cup marks. I love the feel of cupping, and often describe it as a “reverse massage”. Thus, rather than pushing down onto already contracted muscle fibers and tight tissue, cupping pulls the tissue up, relieving pressure, and creating space for fresh blood and qi to flow. And because cupping has been shown to affect the body up to 4 inches below the skin’s surface, it is more effective than even the deepest of deep tissue massages. It is a unique therapy that can be used alone, or with acupuncture, and I recommend everyone experience its benefits.