What is cupping therapy?
Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. Cupping helps with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. Cupping sessions can be done on their own or as a combination treatment.
How is cupping done?
The therapy of cupping has been used in China for thousands of years. At first, it was applied using hollowed-out cattle horns. Eventually, the original horn method was replaced by bamboo, ceramic and then glass cups. In the beginning cupping therapy was widely used as a folk remedy but now the technique has been inherited by the modern practitioner.
It is interesting to note that there are records of ancient Egyptian and Greek doctors using cupping therapy. Even the ancient Greek physicians Galen and Hippocrates were great advocates of cupping.
Nowadays there are many different types of cupping methods including; electromagnet cupping, portable cupping pumps, screw-top cups, valve cups, cups with squeeze rubber tops, rubber or silicone cups and bamboo cups. However, most practitioners prefer using the fire-cupping technique with glass cups. From a practical standpoint, glass cups are easy to use, to sterilize, and the practitioner can observe the progress of suction inside the cup.
*Please remember DO NOT try this at home. This technique is for trained practitioners only.*
Fire-cupping is performed by creating a suction or negative pressure inside the glass cup by introducing a flame into the cup. The practitioner will safely hold a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol with a pair of long forceps and light it. The practitioner then briefly introduces the flame into the cup and quickly places the cup on the desired location on the skin. The hot air within the cup creates negative pressure and suction of the skin is achieved.
The practitioner might leave the cup in one spot and add several other cups, this is called stationary cupping. Other times the practitioner might use a method called moving cupping in which one or two cups are placed on the skin and moved along the skin's surface.
What is cupping therapy good for?
The primary objective of cupping therapy is to move Qi and Blood and remove Stagnation of any kind from the body. Recent studies have shown that cupping therapy has many benefits including:
Increased blood circulation
Promoting metabolism in the skin tissue
Better functioning sweat and sebaceous glands
Removal of toxic substances from the surface of the skin
Muscles and Joints
Cupping expands the blood vessels in the muscles to facilitate the flow of blood and lymph thereby reducing pain, swelling, and muscle spasms caused by injury or overuse.
Promotion of the better flow of blood and synovial fluids in and to the joints to help reduce swelling and pain due to injury or arthritis
Stimulation of peristaltic movement and secretion of digestive fluids to strengthen the digestive function of absorption of nutrients
Strengthening of the muscles used for respiration
Promotion of blood circulation and decreasing blood stagnation to reduce inflammation and pain
Increasing the proportion of red and white blood cells in blood
Neutralizing acidic blood to alkaline or neutral for blood purification
Stimulation of the sensory nerves of the skin
Stimulation of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems to create overall well being
What can I expect during and after cupping therapy?
During the treatment the patient should experience a pulling, stretching, warming sensation on the skin, but not pain. If the cupping is too uncomfortable, please tell your practitioner.
After cupping therapy, the patient will most likely have slight bruising or ring-marks at the site of the treatment. The extent of the bruising depends on the length and strength of the treatment session. The bruising usually fades with a few days but may last up to a week or two. The bruising will usually appear worst after the first treatment but as the circulation improves and stagnation is removed with each treatment, the bruising will decrease.
After treatment, it is normal to feel a little light-headed and some thirst. It is important for the patient to take their time when getting up from the treatment table and to drink some water directly after treatment. In the winter, it is important to stay warm and cover after treatment because the pores are open and susceptible to external pathogens directly after a cupping session.
How much does it cost?
Community cupping sessions are offered on a sliding scale basis:
Cupping Only: Initial $55-$75 & Subsequent $45-$65
Acupuncture and Cupping Combo: Initial $80-$100 & subsequent $75-$95
We also provide private cupping sessions when you are the only patient in the clinic. Prices for private sessions are listed below:
Cupping Only $75
Acupuncture and Cupping Combo Initial $115 & Subsequent $110