What in the world is cupping?

If you were one of my clients in the pre-pandemic world, I’ve most likely used silicon cups on you to help decrease a trigger point and relax a certain area of a muscle. But what on earth is it?

Cupping dates back to ancient China, think early 300’s A.D. It’s an old form of Chinese medicine. Back in the day (wayyyyyy back in the day), the cups would be made of bamboo or ceramic. The practitioners would light a fire within the cup and as the cup cooled, put it on the skin and it would form a vacuum with the skin.

Luckily, today I have silicon cups where I can control the amount of vacuum needed to get the muscles happy again and I don’t need to use fire( which is a good thing, because I’ve been known to burn myself on occasion while cooking) although some practitioners still use the fire method!

So how do I use cupping in my treatments?

Usually, if I stumble upon a large trigger point/ muscle knot along the upper traps, mid traps or rhomboids, I’ll apply lotion and slowly glide the cup along the muscle fibers. This allows the fascia to lift up from the muscle and increases blood flow to the area. The more blood going to your muscles = the happier your muscles will be. After about a minute or two, I’ll take the cup off and continue working the area with my elbow or hands. If I found the trigger point hasn’t released like I would like, I’ll leave the cup on the main spot and have it rest there for up to three minutes.

And that’s how I use cups!

So, what are the benefits?

In my practice, the main benefit is to increase blood flow to a muscle. The more blood going to a muscle, the more oxygen it’s getting. If a muscle has a large muscle knot, that area of the muscle isn’t getting as much oxygen as it should be, therefore the muscle is not working in an optimal way.

What can you expect from cupping?

When you’re getting dynamic cupping done, it feels like your skin is being picked up and dragged. It’s an unusual feeling. It’s painful but it’s a good pain. When you’re getting static cupping done, it feels like a lot of pressure is being created at one point in your muscle and as soon as the cup is taken away, a wave of instant relief rushes in, in my experience anyway.

After the cupping is done, there may be a bruise where the cup was. I try to avoid having the cup in one area for too long, but it does happen.

So, in a nut shell, that’s what cupping is!

Stay healthy and stay safe,

One response to “What in the world is cupping?”

  1. I’m not sure how the comments work specific to a VLog #?

    Re cupping, There’s a photo of Michael Phelps at one of his last Olympic events. He has marks on the back of his shoulder where he had recently received cupping treatments. Given that most of his world records haven’t been beat, there must be benefit to the treatment.


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