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. 


Good Sessions Require Honesty

For the most interesting aspects of massage therapy for the therapist is the ongoing evolution of the general public to the idea of massage therapy. In the massage bodywork world it is spoken of almost like you are “dating” your clients. Buy this will mean that clients must get to know us before they ever need us to get a vibe for who we are as professionals in order to consider taking the lead in contacting us. Once the client takes a step to get to the point of contacting us we must then begin to build trust with a potential new client similar to someone getting to know you on a date.

And as many people know part of building a relationship is taking opportunities to earn each others trust. This is something that many professions have to deal with in the healthcare system some are more culturally accepted than others. The criminal element in almost every society has taken advantage of the massage therapy person profession in order to create a cultural code of prostitution. Massage therapy and bodywork has been perhaps one of its greatest victims. Criminals have created a culture in many areas of the world that make people body fall break even with professional massage therapist because of the sexual undertone they haven't planted in the culture. The element of honesty and building trust becomes all the more difficult in our profession so we are constantly looking for ways to build trust and to give people very clear messages that we are very willing to earn their trust for a legitimate healthcare reasons.

There's also a secondary aspect of honesty which is the honesty of doing good professional business that promotes the profession. There is definitely an aspect to some parts of the United States including Minnesota where the laws and regulations regarding the profession are lacking (actually necessary) because self regulation of the industry is very difficult. Simple regulations about the splitting or incentivizing pricing levels and even something as simple as medical record keeping our not yet standardized in Minnesota and several other locations around the United States. There must also be some honesty here as well regarding the marketability of massage therapy as it compares itself to the general marketplace. Mini massage businesses and spice is similar practices to other industries to capture control and disseminate customer information for marketing purposes this can be everything from returning your email addresses to send spam emails to making phone calls to those individuals who have not come in for regular appointments. These practices have gone a long ways towards making the industry look not only intermittent service also intimate and it's ability to market to you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or relentless in some cases. Private therapist like myself take a different approach as a matter fact is considered a marketing point not to contact customers in between appointments and less deemed necessary and not adding them to marking less which would flood their inboxes with spam or feel their mailboxes with crap.

I have taken the view that I treat people the way I would like to be treated and that means that my time and my information is valuable and so I try to practice at in my business as well. Being honest means providing an accurate and fair impression of yourself when people look at your marketing materials including your website. I try to make sure that the information I provide is fair or reasonable and honest if I was looking at that site for the first time or to any other marketing materials that have been given to me or that I was looking for. I also try and do that with pricing policies and appointments and policies as well how would I feel if the business confronted me with an unfair pricing system contract or agreement of which they did not earn my business they contracted my business. It has been my philosophy to offer a simple straightforward approach with many options available that not only show respect for the clients but also for their privacy.

I have talked to a number of consultants about my policies regarding private information and marketability avenues including collecting and using the personal information that is provided to me. I have seen in my years as a therapist that many people supply false information in order to prevent unwanted marketing materials. I can understand his concern if people are willing to take the first step to come in for an appointment or to at least speak with me I hope that they will dish and only provide me fair and honest information with the understanding that when I looked him in the eye and promised them at their information will never be used for marketing purposes that they believe me. Is necessary for me to be honest with the clients to tell them exactly what the information will be used for most often people find to be very simple and transparent and that is to keep them well and should I need to contact them for any reason reasonable.

So how can I earn the trust of someone who may not necessarily trust me upon their first contact with me in a way that is professional and ethical. I try and ask every client to be very honest with me to provide feedback throughout their session and even after their session so that I can perform a service better for them. There is a colloquialism here in Minnesota that really is not productive and that is to not be honest in order to not hurt someone's feelings. Even if they are just fed it to satisfied with their service and many times avoid confrontation simply by not being honest about their thoughts about their services. I believe it to be absolutely essential that people remember they are paying for a service for my qualified professional and in doing so their feedback honest feedback is absolutely necessary it would be no different than going to a medical doctor. 

I honestly believe in that regard burning someone's business comes from getting the honest feedback and then showing people your understanding and listen to them by doing what they are asking if it all possible. This is where it gets interesting in that new therapist think that they are to follow the body and what it wants and not to be concerned with the demands of the client prior to the start of the session in other words what they tell you about their concerns you ignore them and follow the body. This I believe is a tremendous mistake on the part of the therapists someone is paying for service if you need to stay in an area of the body longer or use a little bit different method than what you had previously discussed it as an opportunity to educate the client and let them make a decision there for building trust. Too often over the years I've been a therapist if I heard people say that they asked for focus in an area or a particular type of massage and that is not what they received and after hearing the description of what it was and what happen I can tell you that the therapist was inclined not to explain themselves not to educate and just to expect the clients to listen to them and trust them implicitly because they got on the table. Customer service 101 is to listen understand and take action and then I believe it is one of the greatest tools I have in order to make the best session possible.

I would consider this one of the most insightful entries I have ever made and faraway one of the most revealing about the industry itself. Whether it is your first session or your 500 your honesty matters and if you have someone it was a trained professional they should listen to you and if they don't call them out on it or go on another “date” with someone else because maybe you might find out that another professional therapist could be the right one for you.