So what is Cupping?
Cupping, developed at least two thousand years ago, is the application of pressure associated with suction to treat and relieve various conditions such as back and neck pains, stiff muscles, fatigue, anxiety, migraines, fever, lung congestion and rheumatism.
Cupping offers deep tissue relief as it can exert its benefits on tissues approximately 10 cm down from the body surface. Importantly, it generates a feeling of relaxation and relief as it aligns and opens the channels through which vital energy, Qi, flows. Cupping, like acupuncture, clears away blockages, improves blood flow, relieves pain and removes "heat" and toxins from body tissues.
Cupping – the process
- Surgical spirit is rubbed around the bottom of a glass or bamboo cup which is then lit.
- As the flame is extinguished, the cup is placed immediately against the skin at a point along any of five back meridien channels. At no time do flames come into contact with the skin.
- The cup may be left in place or can be moved gently along the back and as it glides across the skin, it gently pulls skin, tissue and muscles upwards from the body, differing from massage that pushes them into the body.
- Consequently, a slight tightening in the area of the cup will be felt but this often soothing.
- Cupping may cause the skin in the cup area to temporarily turn red, blue or purple, especially if there is an injury or energetic blockage under the area that was cupped. These temporary marks are rarely painful and may last a few days to a couple of weeks. When the marks have cleared, cupping may be resumed and quite often the discolouration observed initially becomes less intense with subsequent cuppings. Cuppings continue until the condition resolves.
- Cupping should not be used on those who bleed easily and/or cannot stop bleeding, have skin ulcers, or oedema. It is also unwise to cup over large blood vessels. Extreme caution should be exercised with respect to pregnant women – never cup the abdomen or lower back.
Well-known individuals who use Cupping
Wang Qun, a Chinese swimmer in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing uses Cupping as does UK tennis hero, Andy Murray, with other treatments to relieve stiffness and aid a back injury.
Other celebrities include: Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Jessica Simpson, Lady Gaga and Victoria Beckham!