Dry Cupping is a therapy technique that we use in clinic alongside other hands on therapies. In its simplest description, cupping draws blood from the intramuscular tissues up to the skin layers which enables healing.
Cups come in lots of varied sizes and shapes to contour around our bony landmarks like our spine, shoulder blades and knee joints. It is used to help stretch fascia (the sausage skin of our body) and muscle tissue. As we age, we have an increase of muscle breakdown and increase of adhesions in fascia so cupping therapy can be used to keep these structures mobile and healthy.
Once the cup is placed with suction (using a suction gun), the tissue is stretched leaving room for the area to be flooded with fresh blood. As the area is flooded with blood, stagnated, or old, blood is drawn to the surface within the skin layers. This old blood is dark coloured and is what gives you the ‘hickey like’ marks that you see in photos of cupping. It can sting initially when the cup is applied and stretches the tissue, but this can be managed by adjusting the suction. After this settles down, the treatment should be painless. The goal is with regular cupping, that the amount of stagnated blood will be less as the body is healthier generally and can regenerate an area well.
How many cups we use depends on the area we are treating, the age of the client and what our goal for treatment is. We can use just one or two for a less intense approach or cover the area with cups.
We develop pockets of old blood in the tissue when we are injured and don’t recover properly. If the area doesn’t move well because the muscle and fascial fibres are restricted and congested, then the flow of fresh blood is slower which can hinder the healing process.
The stagnation marks can last from a few hours to two weeks. The marks that last the longest are due to a greater amount of waste product being dissipated. The more frequent treatment is, the quicker the marks fade. Stagnation marks should not hurt, as we do not cause injury. If they do you need to contact your practitioner to discuss it.
For the body to change, it must have a need to change. Dry cupping creates a sterile inflammation reaction which involves creating microtrauma (just like exercise and manual massage). This microtrauma initiates a healing response from the body by releasing white blood cells, platelets and fibroblasts to heal the area. This microtrauma also stimulates the production of new blood vessels called neovascularization making the healing even more efficient.
Cupping therapy has been used to detoxify the body. By suctioning the old blood up to the surface to be disposed of by the body, it can also encourage the breakdown of waste product. This can include the toxins that circulate around the body of smokers and drug users, but it is not limited to these populations. Bloating, cellulite and weight gain can be a symptom of a condition called solid bloat. It is a name given to an accumulation of chemical and physical impacts, which overload our systems, generated over years. Everyone can benefit from regular cupping to enhance their body systems!
So, are you intrigued to see what the cups discover in your body? Book into a soft tissue session today and discuss with Kirsty how dry cupping can be integrated into your treatment plan.
If you are a professional looking to add this to your treatment list, please look at our dry cupping therapy course page HERE