What is Cupping?
If you haven’t heard of it, you’ve definitely seen it. The famous red circular marks on the backs of athletes like Michael Phelps come from Cupping. Cupping is a form of alternative medicine used by Chinese, Unani, traditional Korean, Tibetan, as well as Oriental healing systems with many health benefits. It uses cups to create a suction on your skin, which reaps several benefits such as reducing inflammation, stimulating blood flow and promoting relaxation. I recently indulged in an amazing Cupping session at Ling Spa in NYC. This article will explain the benefits and different types of Cupping Therapy and hopefully convince you to book an appointment for yourself!
Benefits of Cupping Therapy
Reduces Body Pain
A study showed that cupping reduces pain associated with back and neck pain. The modern lifestyle we’re immersed in calls for long periods of working on the laptop or sitting at the office desk. These postures place a high amount of stress on your vertebrae, leading to neck and back pain. Cupping draws blood to affected muscles, allowing them to heal and relax faster. It relieves neck pain, shoulder pain, tight trapezius, lower back pain, spinal congestion, and plantar fasciitis – a next level massage experience.
Detoxification of the Body
Though the liver is fully adapted to detoxify our bodies, we are exposed to countless more hidden toxins nowadays. Cupping aids your body in its natural detoxification process. The suction creates a focused blood flow which drains built-up toxins through the lymphatic system. This is especially beneficial if you are recovering from a sports injury that requires you to be bed ridden.
Recovery from Muscle Injuries
The suction created by the cups draws non-circulating blood around the injured area to rise to the surface away from the injury. This allows the injury site to be surrounded with new, circulating blood carrying fresh oxygen and nutrients. This promotes muscle recovery and healthy free circulation.
Relief from Emotional Stress
Unlike a normal massage, cupping uses gentle pressure to pull the muscles upwards. This action increases circulation and blood flow, relieving tension. The experience of sitting through a cupping session too creates a sense of calm – so good! Research also suggests that Cupping helps to relieve anxiety. The gliding action of the suction against your skin engages your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing a deep relaxation to move through your entire body.
Types of Cupping
Beauty – Facial Cupping
Who said Cupping was only for your back and shoulders? Facial cupping – yes, cupping on the face – is known to optimize the youthfulness of the skin. The vacuum-like suction causes microtrauma and tearing, which floods the facial skin surface with white blood cells, platelets, and other healing aids. These help regenerate the skin and stimulate the action of collagen. Unlike regular cupping, facial cupping utilises smaller suction cups that target your cheeks, temples and other areas on the face. By stimulating blood flow to the skin surface, facial cupping stimulates collagen production, lymphatic drainage and skin firmness. It also decreases the appearance of our everyday enemy – puffy eyes! As an added bonus, this form of cupping doesn’t leave marks as the suction is lighter and left for just around 5 seconds.
Medicinal – Body Cupping
For centuries, cupping has been used as an alternative to Western medicine to aid and relieve a variety of medical conditions such as headaches, muscle aches, pains and even acne. A study supported that cupping, in conjunction with other Traditional Chinese Medicine, is more effective than any singular alternative treatment. Cupping is used to alleviate herpes, cellulite, acne and skin inflammation. Moreover, it tones and firms the skin by improving blood flow and expanding capillaries. By engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, Cupping stimulates blood flow to the digestive tract, propelling bowel movements. This helps clear constipation and revs up your metabolism!