Cupping? What the F#$%^ is Cupping

Many of my clients don't realize that I have been working with cups for several years now and I hope that this explanation will encourage people to ask questions to consider whether it's right for them. Cupping has been around for several thousand years, it's roots are based inTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and can be found in several different forms throughout South East Asia. For most American thing first exposure to cupping typically comes during the Olympic Games. Especially during the summer Olympics we will find athletes like swimmers, weightlifters, and even cyclists that use cupping as a method of preventing in helping to heal injuries. After the last Olympic Games I received a number of inquiries regarding what cupping was and if it might work for them as an individual. 


So let's begin by describing the basics of cupping itself: there are several different styles of cupping by styles (I am indicating how they apply and in some cases even materials that compose the cups being used). First we have two general categories of cups: first of the two is called “still cupping”. Still cups are those that are set into position for a specific purpose and are simply removed after the allotted period of time. The second is called “moving cups” these are cups that are placed in one location for a period of time and then are moved while still creating section. This general type of cupping is relatively new by comparison to still cups with the advent of modern technology cupping has been taken to a new level and now has a much wider use. From those two general categories let next discuss how each one can be used and the general method involved.


Still cupping is a method that originally started as a way of clearing blockage is in major joints and in certain areas of the body to assist in the cleansing process. In Traditional Chinese Medicine clearing blockage is around major joints was considered critical to health. The idea is to assess the individual and place them in strategic locations are all major joints and major meridian lines. They would be left there for a relatively short for your time say around two minutes and for others it could be more than 30 minutes. This is the method that is most often seen on television during the Olympic games or seen by more and more individuals on the street as they walk by someone with marks around the top of their neck or base of their skull. Many traditional practitioners find the term “bruise” offensive when describing the marks left behind by the cups. Cupping does not leave a bruise is actually a side effect of lifting and separating tissue and allowing blood flow into an area that was not receiving the proper blood supply before. The suctioning effect of the cups also tends to pull debris upwards towards the skin making a more visible to individuals. I tell people think of a vacuum cleaner clean your floor the section in effect of the vacuum for polled a pre-upwards out of the rug itself and into the bag. But in actuality the one body does not simply allow itself to lift the debris out of tissue it must be cleaned out by the lymphatic system. These marks are typically only there for short period of time but an extremely were cases can last several months so it's usually something you want to do when you know you're going to be covered for example during the winter months. These marks or painless and if need be can easily be covered by make up. In most cases I tell people to take a shower when they get home because occasionally the skin can leach out some of the debris this is often the case when you work on peoples back shortly after a major surgery or if they tend to be heavy smokers. Still cup session can last as little as 10 minutes or as long as 40 minutes and still allows you to go back to normal activity after the treatment is completed. Depending on your activity level sometimes it is recommended to make upping only once in a great while for major athletes and also dealing with injuries coming in every other day is necessary.

Let's move on now to gliding cups now so you can understand their function and application. Moving cups allow practitioner to open multiple meridian points in the same application this was the first evolved form of moving cups in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Like acupuncture the idea was to remove any blockages in the meridians a renter out the human body that transfer life energy into all the tissues of the body cupping was a more mechanical method of traditional acupuncture and so the moving of the cups allowed practitioners to not only get very particular point but also have a broader general impact on those same meridian lines throughout the body. There's also a modern version of the movie cup which is something called Medi-Cupping this is done by using textured glass and plastic cups which are designed to separate connective tissue and muscle tissue similar to a still cup application but over a broader area. It has many applications most popular which I have found is as a substitution for a foam roller on the area of the legs. Instead of compressing the tissue which can be very painful to the person doing the rolling the use of the medi-Cupping technique allows relatively painless means to achieve the same and in many cases can be done significantly faster. Sessions can vary in length from the slowest 10 minutes to as long as an hour and a half depending upon the needs of the client and the particular application of the preferred but practitioner.


To close out this information I thought would be best to give you more general information that's true for both methods and also how you may go about deciding if it’s right for you. In general conference sessions are priced by a practitioner either in units of general time (as I do with all my treatments) over they can be a standalone service which may be priced differently depending upon the application as requested by the client. Most cupping session in general will be priced between $20 and $50 and if they are gliding cups are typically priced in the unit of time. Every qualify practitioner should have some kind of a certificate from a reputable continuing education provider. Also these cups need to be washed carefully so you want to look for someone is following basic hygienic standards like a UV sterilizing light and is using a specific method for washing the cups in an approved cleaning product like bleach (this will of course be different for the type of cup used). It's also worth noting is that those who are pregnant and those who have bleeding disorders are strongly advised not to have cupping done unless cleared by an M.D.. One other great point to mention is that cups can be made out of a variety of materials from bamboo, glass, acrylics, even rubber.


I hope this information has been helpful if you have any questions you're welcome to contact me at Tony Schwartz Bodywork in Minneapolis, Minnesota.