By Stacey Higgins
Cupping is one of the oldest treatments in the world; it has been recorded as being in use by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. Originally animal horns and bamboo were used as cups and the pressure was created by sucking air out of the top. Today cups are made from glass, plastic or silicone. The vacuum effect is created either by heating the air inside or through a mechanical pump.
Cupping is used in massage therapy to treat trigger points or knots in muscles which cause pain. Trigger points occur when a muscle is not receiving enough blood and oxygen which causes muscle fibres to stick together. These spots within the body restrict movement and are quite painful to touch. Trigger points will never just go away and often having one will create others as other muscles compensate for the muscle that cannot work properly. When a muscle is not getting enough blood flow waste products will build up causing pain and swelling.
Placing a cup over affected areas will stretch the muscle fibres, increase blood flow, increase lymphatic drainage, reduce pain, reduce swelling and stimulate metabolism. The muscle is able to return to its correct resting length and all the waste products and toxins are free to be filtered out of the body which in turn will reduce any swelling. Cupping can also be used to aid digestion, relieve headaches and increase recovery from illness.
Cupping sometimes gets a bad reputation as being painful, however if cupping is done correctly it is not painful. Massage therapists often turn to cupping if the client finds hands on skin treatment too painful. Also cupping can increase circulation up to four inches deep which gives therapists access to areas that are difficult to get to with their hands.
A cup is placed on the skin and the air is sucked out by a mechanical pump to a level that is comfortable for the client. The cup can remain stationary or be glided across the skin. Cups stay on the skin for 5 – 15 minutes.
Cupping is well known for the discoloration is can cause. These marks are not painful to touch and don’t last longer than 7 days. Some people mark more than others while others will mark only in some parts of the body. For those who have regular cupping the discolouration will be less and less every time until it does not occur at all.
Cupping may leave some marks on the skin but the effect is has on the muscles and connective tissue nothing short of amazing. If you are tight and sore but find massage too painful to tolerate ask about vacuum cupping at your next appointment.
To book in with Stacey for either a massage, or if you would like to try vacuum cupping, call us on 1300 318 817 or email [email protected] to find out more.