Written by Damien White

Massage Suction Cupping Therapy

Massage Suction Cupping is a modernised form of Cupping therapy. It adopts a suction gun to produce a negative air pressure vacuum inside cups which have been placed on the skin. The suction works to release rigid soft tissues and muscles. The skin may redden after the cup is left in place for a few minutes. The purpose of using cups in this way is to apply pressure for relaxation of muscles and overall promotion of wellbeing. At Optimal Natural Therapies we commonly blend the cupping therapy with the remedial / sports massage to maximise the benefits of the treatment.

Cupping Throughout History

Cupping Therapy is an ancient Chinese method of promoting healing deep in the muscle tissue, opening energy pathways, releasing toxins and activating the lymphatic system. Cupping is done by placing a cup, in which a vacuum has been created, over the skin. This creates suction and allows for healing and release of muscle tension.

The Action Of Suction Cups

Suction Cups produce vacuums on the body's surface by manually withdrawing the air through the suction gun, rather than the traditional way of burning up oxygen. If you think of massage in terms of positive pressure (pressing in on body tissues), then you can think of Massage Suction Cupping as a negative pressure, drawing body tissues outward from the body, to stimulate them with a reverse massage.

Cupping Marks

The most common misunderstanding regarding one powerful after effects of cupping is the marks that sometimes result. Where there is dead, static blood, lymph, cellular debris, pathogenic factors, and toxins present in the body, Cupping can leave marks which indicates that the stagnation or disease has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface, allowing fresh oxygenated blood to nourish and heal the underlying areas. The colour and pattern of the marks depend on the level of stagnation in the area, and range from a bright red to dark purple, usually lasting 3 days to a week - sometimes longer if the person is very sick or sedentary. If there is no stagnation present, there will be only a light pink mark which disappears in a few minutes to a couple of hours. Sites where there is old trauma or injury may require multiple cupping treatments to remove all stagnation. You will find in follow up treatments the marks will be visibly lighter and lighter as the pathogens are systemically removed from the body.

Many unfamiliar to Cupping Therapy refer to the Cup Marks as Bruises. Bruising is caused by impact trauma with breakage of capillaries and a reactionary rush of fluids to the damaged location from the tissue injury. There is no compression in correctly performed suction cup therapy. Although it is quite common during Stationary Dry Cupping (left static for 5 - 20 minutes) to achieve dramatic 'marks' or 'discolorations', the less aggressive action of moving the cups, minimizes the intensity and duration of the discolorations. Often, when a condition exists within deeper structures where sufficient pathologic factors and stagnant fluids (toxins, blood and lymph) are dredged up during treatment, discoloration will appear on the epidermis. As treatments cumulate and the release of stagnation and build-up has been released, dispersed and drained – (sometimes quickly as the 2nd treatment) no discoloration is likely to occur at all - even though each time the cupping may have been focused on the same area, for the same duration, and with the same amount of suction. This action is clearly the result of having internal unwanted toxins systematically purged.

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