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Should I get cupping? And 5 ways it works

Everyone is coming in after seeing people at the gym with red spots on their bodies and they want to know if cupping can help them. The answer is Yes! but let me tell you how and why I use cupping and how it works.

  1. Tight superficial fascia

When it comes to the superficial fascia, think bag of oranges. Your back is the oranges and the superficial fascia is the net. Until you open the bag the oranges are squashed tight against each other, no room to move. This is how your back muscles can be especially if you have not been having massage. When I start working with a new client superficial fascial tension is the first thing I check. If left untreated you can flush all your good work down the toilet.

2. Pain, discomfort during treatment or low pain threshold

Cupping seems to stimulate what we call the "chemical soup" a bunch of natural chemicals in your body that stimulates healing and reduces pain and stress.

In a treatment when I find my clients are struggling with techniques, I will get cupping. Clients are always blown away but how they can tolerate remedial techniques after they have been cupped.

3. Stressed out

This is the one time I will pop cups on and leave my client to just chill out.

By not touching the body during cupping clients tend to either get into a meditive state easily or feel extremely cruisey. I tend to leave clients alone for about 10 minutes before starting their treatment. This is generally enough to break the stress cycle.

4. Cold and stiff or cold air exposure

This is very timely. Many clients suffer when they sleep under cold streams of air. Some muscles can get sore, others seize up. Cupping "pulls" this imbalance out of the muscles and brings about movement again.

5. Fluid retention

Cupping is helpful for fluid retention in many larger areas. The calves, hamstrings and lower back tend to be the area most commonly treated for fluid retention with cups.

6.Cramps of spasms

When a muscle continues to be in contraction cupping can help. In the course of Myotherapy or remedial massage cupping is really helpful.

7. Mobility over joints of the spine

I often reach for my cups when I have been working hard on the area the spine meets the ribs. These areas are slower to change as the blood supply and tissue type is different to pure muscle. Cuppings pulling effect on the area increases blood flow and helps speed up change in your treatments.

So what does cupping do? lots of things!

Cupping is called a negative pressure treatment tool. It sucks instead of pushes on the body.

1.Change happens when the body is ready. What is nice about this it allows the clients tissues to relax in their on time and the fascia can slide and rearrange itself when its ready.

2.Changes how contracted and area is. Whilst it pulls on a small area its causing what we call an inhibition. This is when a muscle is shortened but the same can occurs for a patch of fascia. The brain gets the memo that an area of muscle is tight and it sends changes to lengthen the tissues. So when you remove the cups the tissues are double relaxed.


The redness you see is from the tiny blood capillaries being damaged. The body repairs this fairly quickly but in doing so brings about a healing effect in the area that you had "controlled damage",

4. Immune stimulation

The institute of sports did some cool research many years ago into the effects of cupping and one finding was that t cells increased after cupping treatment. T cells are part of the bodies natural healing response that come into when tissue needs repair or viruses and pathogens are being attacked by our bodies defense system.

5. Stimulates the bodies natural pain killers

This is probably due to the micro damage that cupping causes and possibly profound as its happening on the skin level.

So how long does it take to get rid of those marks? most people clear them in about 7 days others with really tight skin may still have glimpses of cupping at day 10. You can actually get rid of the marking faster if you rub the skin very superficially. This stimulates the lymphatic system to move on the damaged cells. On areas where the range of motion is fuller like the legs the marks tend to disappear faster.

Typically if you need cupping I will suggest it in a session. If you are just curious please come in and try it out. It just may be your new favorite therapy.

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