Since I moved to my new home, I have come across several Chinese medical shops that are around my new neighbourhood. Some of the pictures in the windows gave me goose bumps whenever I looked at them: the cupping – it just looked torturous! I thought to myself ‘That must hurt, I don’t think I can try it.’ It didn’t take too long until I changed my mind.
Last weekend I woke up with some back pain so I decided to book a deep tissue massage at the Chinese medical shop. Once there I requested a half hour massage, after further questioning I was advised that for my problem I should try cupping. That made me think…maybe now is the time to try cupping, even with all the fear and anxiety bubbling inside my stomach.
Every time I want a massage I use the Spa at the Hotel where I am staying or I book a Hotel Spa in London, so I am used to fancy massage rooms where everything is beautiful designed and the scent of incense and oils pervade the air. Well, here it’s all different, a very simple massage room that meets the basic needs.
Also, it is not required to be naked, you can keep your panties on, or cover yourself with a towel. Once in the massage room I was asked to take off my t-shirt and lie down in just my shorts and bra. Then the masseur went into action, massaging my neck. No oils, no towels…nothing, only his hands and his elbow massaging my back and neck, honestly, I didn’t feel the urge to have oil on my skin.
After 15min of proper deep tissue massage it was time for the cupping. I was a bit nervous about what I was going to feel. I heard glasses clinking and moving around, then the sound of a lighter. I thought to myself ‘Is this going to be hot?!? How will the cups stay glued to my skin?’ Suddenly I felt the first cup on my back and my skin being sucked up, ten times in all. After the last one, my back were covered with a towel and I was left alone for 15min. For the first few minutes I found it difficult to breathe, I felt that my whole body was being sucked up into those cups. My breath was weak and slow, but started to become normal after a while. As time went by, I start wondering … ‘Ok, this doesn’t hurt, but what’s going to happen, when the he starts taking the cups off!’ Well nothing extraordinary actually…no pain…nothing…only a sense of well being and relaxation.
Back home I looked at myself in the mirror and I noticed a few round purple marks from the cups, having them meant that I had a significant amount of congestion – they lasted a few days – and touching the marks slightly hurt, but nothing that can’t be handled in name of health and beauty!
If you have tried cupping before how was your experience? Did you see any results?
I have made some research and collected some useful information that explains and enlightens you on the subject.
Cupping & health benefits
Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the earliest documentations of cupping can be found in the work titled ‘A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies’, which was written by the Taoist herbalist Ge Hong and which dates 300 AD. Cupping is also found referred in other old medical textbooks, the ‘Ebers Papyrus‘, describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping therapy in 1550 B.C. Also Chinese documentation about 3000 years old was recommending cupping as a treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.
What kind of devices are placed on the skin for the Cupping?
The most common are the small glass cups, but this technique is also applied with bamboo jars or modern ones made of silicone.
How is the Cupping applied?
There are different ways to create the suction in the cups: one method involves rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin; suction can also be created by placing an inverted cup over a small flame; by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material (like leather) to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum that pulls the skin upward, meaning localised use of negative pressure.
Where are the cups applied?
‘Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed. Using these points, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian channels, cupping strives to ‘open’ these channels – the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force). Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials.’
How suction works to relief symptoms?
Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin: ‘gliding cupping’. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.
- Loosen muscles
- Encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (perfect for high blood pressure treatment)
- Relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles
- Cellulite and weight loss (for these treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area)
- Can clear congestion from a common cold
- Can help to control asthma
- Improves skin tone
If you still want to know more detailed info about cupping here