Cupping and Gua Sha Therapy

Cupping is an ancient form of therapy in which a therapist applies special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. It helps with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. The cups may be made of glass, bamboo, earthenware, and silicone. Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. There are two types of cupping: dry cupping and wet cupping. Dry cupping involves suction only while wet cupping involves both suction and medicinal bleeding.

In both types of cupping, the therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, he puts the cup upside down on your skin. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for 5-10 minutes. A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes silicone cups are used because they can be moved from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.

Similar to Cupping, Gua-sha roughly translates as “to scrape wind.”  In Chinese medicine, wind is a pathogenic “evil” that can be trapped in the muscle layer and disrupt the flow of blood and other fluids.  The disruption usually leads to pain, inflammation, weakness, stiffness, and limited range of motion.  To help alleviate pain and return normal functioning back to the body, the practitioner uses a blunt tool and a medicinal oil to gently scrape the skin of the affected area.  The scraping mechanism opens up the muscle layer to release the obstructions and to help alleviate pain.

Gua-sha has many other health benefits as well.  It can also be used to combat the common cold or the flu, as well as calming anxiety and anti-aging.

Here are the top 5 benefits of cupping:

Gives you more Energy

Due to suction, cupping improves overall blood flow throughout the body. This, in turn, can give you more energy. 

Calms the Nervous System

Cupping can be an alternative option to massage. It calms the nervous system, providing great relaxation overall. Besides relaxation, it can also help reduce depression and anxiety. 

Removes Toxins

Like mentioned before, cupping improves the overall blood circulation in the body. This also helps to detoxify anything that doesn’t need to be there (i.e. common cold).

Reduces Pain

There are some evidence in multiple different studies that have concluded that cupping does reduce some pain. A few studies have been conducted, showed that cupping did reduce neck and back pain; however, more research needs to be done. 

Helps with Recovery

Cupping helps to stretch muscles and connective tissues. It also helps to reduce inflammation, which can help with recovery after a workout or a sports game. 

If you’re curious about how cupping can help you or want to try it yourself, make an appointment with us.