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cupping therapy 101

Have you heard of cupping therapy? If you watched the swimmers in the 2016 summer olympics, you may remember the circular bruises on some of their backs which are often left behind when fire cupping is used. This alternative therapy has been around for thousands of years and is an early form of Chinese medicine.

Cupping is used to release tension and toxins in the body by creating suction and negative pressure to release soft tissue and adhesions, lift connective tissue and fascia, break up and drain excess fluids and move blood and lymph from stagnant areas. It works as a reverse massage, with the muscles and tissues being lifted rather than compressed to aid recovery. Many people find rapid relief from injuries and pain with this method.

In our home, my daughter plays competitive softball and has strained her back and shoulders after having played multiple games over the course of a weekend. I used the massage cupping method on these areas to relieve the tension and she feels more relaxed and pain free. I've used this therapy on my husband's painful hip, on my father's sore back and on my sister's strained shoulder. Each of them reported that this treatment worked to alleviate much of the pain for up to several days afterward.

Although I am not a doctor, massage therapist or chiropractor, this method can be learned easily to help those you love. The process of massage cupping is quite easy. I recommend taking things slowly to see how your loved one's body responds. Don't use cups on any bruised areas because it will bring more blood to the surface.

You can buy BPA-free, food grade silicone cup sets like these or these rather inexpensively. I recommend getting two sets of four each so that you have a variety of sizes. I like silicone better than glass cups - they are easier to use, don't need a heat source, are not breakable and are easy to clean.

Have your recipient recline or relax with the area to be treated exposed. Apply a massage oil over the area. I like Young Living's Relaxation Massage Oil. It goes on smoothly with no toxic chemicals. Feel free to use organic coconut oil or olive oil also.

(Did you know that your skin is your largest organ and absorbs chemicals into your bloodstream in about 20 minutes? That is why it is vital to use a quality products on your body. Check out the Environmental Working Group or download the Think Dirty app if you want to find out how safe your beauty products are.)

Anyway, you have your "victim" all oiled up, now grab the appropriately sized cups for that area, i.e. back = big cups. Pinch the cup a bit, put it flush on the skin and let go. There will be suction created and you will see the skin lift inside the cup. Put a few cups on the area. Let them sit 3-5 minutes, then slowly take one cup and gently start to move it around the area in a slow methodical fashion. (This is called dynamic cupping by moving it in a circular, up/down or zig zag pattern.) The person will most likely tell you how great it feels. If the cups are hard to move or the person feels any pain, pinch the cup to release the suction. There should be no pain, just pressure.

Continue to do this and release each cup completely after a minute or two. This slow massage moves the fluids around under the skin and should alleviate most chances of a bruise. Take your time. You can use the smaller cup on more directed body areas, but use extreme caution if using on the face or neck. The skin is very thin and tender.

If you are feeling nervous or just want to learn more, there are lots of videos (here is a good one to start with) on how to do cupping therapy on YouTube. Be sure to read the instructions that come with your set of cups.

After the massage treatment, you may want to apply some essential oils to the treated area enhance the relaxation effects. I love Deep Relief Roll On for this, but feel free to use what you like. I want to stress that the source of your EOs is extremely important. Remember how I said that your skin is the biggest organ? If you are using sub-par oils, they are not just going on your body, but also going into your body. Most oils on the market today are filled with chemical garbage. I only use Young Living, because of the Seed to Seal guarantee - check out the Essential Oils tab here on the phoodmoose website for more info.

After your cupping session, clean the cups with warm, soapy water or whatever your cup instructions recommend. You can repeat the process several times a week as needed. Hopefully, you can alleviate the need for over the counter drugs for pain with this method.

As Lure states, "Results are cumulative and practice makes perfect."

* I am not a medically trained professional, just a person that is trying to share my life experiences to help others enhance their own lives. Please do your own research and please seek professional help if you have any serious or lingering injuries.


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