If you watched any of the 2016 Summer Olympic games, or saw the Lady Gaga Netflix documentary Five Foot Two, chances are you’ve seen those weird hickey-like circles on people’s backs. And if that’s the case, chances are you’ve heard of cupping, and wondered to yourself, “What the heck is that stuff all about anyway?”
Turns out Cupping Therapy has been around literally thousands of years. It has just become more widely known recently because, well, the internet & social media.
First of all, what IS cupping?
Cupping therapy is a bodywork modality that uses negative pressure (produced by using suction cups), rather than tissue compression, to facilitate rigid soft tissue release and to loosen and lift connective tissue while increasing localized blood and lymph flow to the skin and muscles.
Dry cupping, using glass, plastic, or silicone cups uses either a small amount of heat to create a vacuum, or a manual or electronic air pump to suck out the air in the cups to create the suction needed to lift the skin and fascia away from the bones and muscles. It’s like massage in the reverse. Instead of applying a positive pressure to push the soft tissues around, it uses a negative pressure to lift and move them around. Neat, huh?
And WHAT’S with the weird circles?
According to CuppingResource.com, clients may “experience a slight twinge when the skin is pulled up by suction. Because the skin is tugged upwards, sometimes tiny capillaries under the surface of the skin tend to expand, and after the cup is removed, patients might notice a circular bruise accompanied by some amount of swelling.” The bruises will heal on their own and usually disappear completely within anywhere from a few days to a week or two.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt like it looks like it does. During the time that the cups are working, you feel a slight negative pressure - just like you feel pressure from a massage. You’ll definitely feel it. And yeah it can sort of be uncomfortable. But it doesn’t feel like a punch in the back (which is honestly what I was picturing the first time I saw these bruises!) It just feels like someone is lifting your stuck muscles away from each other. This can feel like a rush of relief as the tightness dissipates and new fresh blood rushes into your sore, tired muscles.
So WHY do therapists offer cupping?
Cupping therapy can relieve blood stagnation, improve blood circulation, decrease high blood pressure, loosen connective tissue, promote healing and relaxation, and aid in your body’s natural detoxification.
WHERE do I find this fantastic treatment?
At Mantis, we have several therapists that offer Cupping Therapy! Swing by our South Congress location to see Khammi, Julia, or Melissa. Closer to our Airport location? Melissa works there too! If you know ahead of time that you want cupping, mention it in the notes when you book!