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Cupping: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (Part Two)

Practitioner using silicone Baguanfa cup on female patient's back

What is the Science Behind Cupping?

Because it is working on a number of different systems and structures within the body, cupping has numerous benefits.

So, What Exactly are Those Marks?

Did you know, the marks that show up after cupping are NOT bruises! The correct Western term for these discolorations are petechiae or ecchymosis. These two skin colorations are due to extravasated blood from capillaries, as opposed to capillary rupture. Although an ecchymosis can be a bruise, a bruise is due to trauma to the tissue that has caused a ruptured capillary, whereas the negative pressure of cupping pulls some blood through the walls of the capillaries and vessels. During inflammation, white blood cells are naturally extravasated through capillary walls into surrounding tissues to clean up and deal with the inflammation. Cupping helps to speed up this process.

The rate of healing and the stages that occur with cupping marks distinguish these marks as petechiae or ecchymosis rather than bruising. 

How Should I Take Care of Myself After Cupping?

According to the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping opens up the body’s defensive layer (what we call the wei qi) in order to allow for the release of heat or toxins trapped in the body. However, for a period of 4-6 hours after a cupping treatment, this also means that the body’s defensive layer is down, so it’s important to treat your body right during this time! Following a cupping session, it is best to avoid excessive heat, cold, wind/drafts, swimming, or over-exercise for a period of 4-6 hours. We suggest keeping a layer of clothing or a scarf over the cup marks to prevent direct contact with the elements. Additionally, avoid putting any strong topical creams or oils over the marks during this period of time, particularly if they have menthol, camphor, or other strong or potentially irritating ingredients.

What is Cupping Most Helpful For?

Cupping can be beneficial for a number of conditions including:

Musculoskeletal pain, sciatica, rheumatism and arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, poor circulation, edema, chronic headaches, migraines, menstrual problems, certain respiratory disorders (asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD and other mucus-based disorders), colds, the flu, neuralgia, high blood pressure, cellulite, insomnia, fatigue, digestive disorders, chronic constipation, anxiety, and stress.

Injuries and Conditions Treated: Knee injuries, hamstring injuries, gluteal injuries, shoulder injuries, forearm and elbow injuries, achilles tendon injuries, gastrocnemius injuries, low back injuries, quadriceps femoral injuries, sprains & strains, shin splints, IT band syndrome, hip conditions, groin pain, compartment syndrome, and medial tibial stress syndrome. 

What is Cupping Contraindicated For?

Cupping should not be performed on acute injuries, until at least 24 hours after the injury. Additionally, cupping is contraindicated with hernias, dislocations, fractures (bone or stress fractures), slipped discs, tendon rupture, infections, bleeding, skin damage, and burns.

Do you have one of the many conditions that may benefit from cupping? Book today!

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