By Penny Hill
The news and Twitterverse are abuzz today about the cupping bruises – they are actually called kisses and are not bruises – on various Olympic athletes. If you missed it, and are new to cupping, it is the therapeutic application of a cup to the skin in which a vacuum is created. This vacuum creates a localized suction of the tissues up into the cup and stimulates a healing response.
All of the news coverage I saw focused on Chinese fire cups, which are used by acupuncturists and are stationary. But there is a different kind of cupping. In Massage cupping, the cup is plastic or even silicone, and the vacuum is achieved by means of a pump attached to a valve.
The value and use of cupping has been known since very ancient times. Massage therapists are getting in on the action, me included. Incorporating this ancient technique into massage cupping is sort of the Ginger Rogers of massage techniques. It does everything regular massage does, just backwards.
In a usual session of massage, all the pressure is directed inward but, with cupping the force is outward. This lifting separates tissue layers for more mobility. The cups can be used to break up other muscular adhesions and scar tissue, collect and drain lymph and increase blood flow. The process is very soothing to the nervous system and induces a deep calm and relaxation.
In general, cupping feels very like massage does. Some areas feel lovely, some not so much. The vacuum cups allow for regulation of the suction if an area of discomfort is found. The cups also stimulate the flow of stagnant energy.
The addition of cupping to your massage sessions can be transformative.
Penny Hill, LMT and certified EFT coach, can be reached by visiting concordiamassagepros.com.