Wellness Articles

The Art of Cupping

Cupping Provided by Vancouver Acupuncturist and RTCMP

You can see the tell-tale marks as more and more people sport large circular bruises on their bodies. You are starting to see them on athletes and celebrities in the media. Maybe you have noticed those marks peeking out of a friend or coworker’s shirt collar. What on earth are those marks, and why are people getting this done to their bodies?

“Cupping” is the name of this technique used to produce these marks and is an excellent method in the Traditional Chinese Medicine scope to help treat pain and facilitate healing. It uses small circular cups of various sizes applied strategically onto the skin with suction. The primary concept of this method is to increase local blood circulation to stimulate the local area and treat or prevent disease.

The lifting and stretching actions the cups have on underlying tissues help with breaking up stagnation to the channels/tissues, assist in draining excess fluid and cellular waste that may be trapped within the fibres causing tightness or inflammation, and invigorate the local areas with increased blood circulation to nourish and repair tissues.

It is interesting to to note only injured tissues or channels will show bruising with cupping. Healthy tissues may become pink or flushed with the vacuum-action, but that will fade very quickly after the cups are removed. Injured tissues, on the other hand, may show bruising ranging from bright red, brownish-red, purple, to even blackish-purple. The intensity of the colour often indicates the severity of the injury and will change over the course of several treatments (ie. darker bruising will eventually become lighter in colour and density with repeat treatments). The bruises typically take about 7-10 days to completely fade away, and during that time the skin may be tender. Massaging locally can ease the bruising, but no other special care is normally required after treatment.

Common applications for cupping include arthritis, chronic headaches, lumbago/lower back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and general muscle joint pain.

Those with infected, ulcerated or overly-sensitive skin, or edema should AVOID cupping. Pregnant women should also AVOID cupping over the abdominal or lumbosacral areas.

If you are interested to know if cupping is right for you, please contact Clarissa for more information at clow.vitality@gmail.com or call 604-687-7678 to book your appointment today!

Clarissa Low, RTCMP


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