By Rachel Musilli, LMT, NMT, FST, CCT
Cupping, also known as Suction Therapy, is a traditional, globally practiced treatment that uses negative pressure to release soft tissues and adhesions, drain excess fluids and toxins, lifts connective tissue, and brings blood flow back to ischemic areas in the skin and muscles. With the popularity of Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and other modalities, Cupping has resurfaced in the holistic healing community as a very effective therapy.
This form of healing is a great facilitator for your body to heal itself. The negative pressure pulls the stagnate lymph and blood out of the tissues to the skin level where the pores expand, releasing the toxins, then flushed away by the circulatory and lymphatic system. The lift from the suction allows the tissues to separate, creating space for the congested, stiff soft tissue to release and loosen any adhesions deep in the tissue. Loosening these restrictions reeducate the muscle fibers and spindle reflexes to stay in a relaxed state.
There are a multitude of methods such as Water Cupping, Herbal Cupping, Massage Cupping, Chinese and Needle Cupping, Biomagnetic Cupping, and even Ice Cupping. The most commonly known practice is Stationary Cupping. Thanks to our 2016 Olympic swim team, the world received a lovely display of marks and interest into the Art of Cupping. These Stationary Cups were placed on areas of inflammation, fatigue and stiffness; left alone to bring blood back into the muscle fibers and quick pain relief to the athlete. Though widely used for muscle tension, there are many other benefits for the body.
Used on the abdomen, this practice stimulates the digestive organs which promote nutrient absorption, peristalsis, and the increase of digestive fluids. For asthma and pneumonia sufferers, cupping eases labored breathing and aids in flushing mucus out the lungs. Those with circulatory issues can enjoy the benefits of blood purification through the removal of dead debris, increased red and white blood cell activity, and altering the pH of the body. Abnormal systolic pressure will stabilize and pulse rate will normalize in those with high blood pressure. Because of the gentle pulling of the skin that suction creates, this simple action can reduce hypersensitive pain in those with nervous system ailments and to help with depression, anxiety, headaches, neuralgia, and rheumatism.
When working with clients that are in high stress careers, I have found that Cupping helps relax and create a sense of calm in the body and mind. After their sessions, they feel the weight of the world is taken off their shoulders. As humans, we tend to hold on to emotions and feelings that become trapped in our bodies, resulting in aches and pains. It also helps to remove those stagnant energies we hold on to, clearing our minds and thoughts to focus on the present.
A typical session can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on the age of the person and what area of the body is worked on. This is a great treatment to include with a massage or acupuncture. Massage Cupping is done with silicone cups that are constantly moved over the body and is the best type of lymphatic massage treatment. There are other specialized treatments that are offered at Arizona Wellness Medicine. Such as TMJ Treatments, Digestive Treatments, and Biomagnetic Treatments.
With all of the effects Cupping can have on the body and mind, it is no surprise why it is the oldest and most globally practiced healing treatment found in the world.