Here at Light Hand, we employ various techniques often used in other modalities of holistic medicine as well as in the world of massage. One of these is cupping.
Where did cupping come from?
Morganmassage.com states that “The earliest pictorial records [of cupping] date back to the ancient Egyptians. This means that cupping dates back as early as 1500 BC! Translations of hieroglyphics in the Ebers Papyrus, the oldest medical text book, detail the use of cupping for treating fever, pain, vertigo, menstrual imbalances, weakened appetite and helping to accelerate the healing crisis.” It is thought that cupping was passed on to the Greeks, before it then made its way to China, where it became more developed. Therefore, it is known today as one of the trademark practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to the Academy of Classical Oriental Science, “The earliest record of [Chinese] cupping is in the Bo Shu (an ancient book written on silk), which was discovered in a tomb of the Han Dynasty [around 206 BC].” Traditional Chinese Medicine relates to our practice of muscle therapy and lymphatic massage in that stagnation within the body is often recognized as a primary cause of pain and “dis-ease”. In TCM, the flow of energy that can become stagnated is referred to as “qi” (pronounced “chi”). If you’ve gotten friendly with our website and learned about what we do here at Light Hand, you know that the practice of lymphatic massage focuses on relieving and improving stagnation of lymph fluid within our circulatory systems and tissue. So, it should really be no surprise that cupping is a common technique used in both modalities!
How is cupping done?
Here at Light Hand, we use cupping as an “extension of the hands”, creating what we call negative pressure on the muscles. A typical therapeutic cupping session at our facility will involve the use of either a special silicon cup, or a glass cup with a suction bulb on the end of it (pictured below). By lubricating the skin with oil, squeezing the silicon cup or squeezing the bulb on a glass cup, and placing the cup on the skin of the area being treated, this creates a vacuum within the cup. This force thus sucks the muscle upwards, pulling it away from the bone. This is so that the “automated” part of our lymphatic system, the part that is responsible for self-healing of cuts and bruises and is less susceptible to congestion, can do its job by cleaning out the tissue.
What about bruises?
You may have seen what we refer to as a “cup kiss” on people’s skin after they have experienced a cupping therapy session. This is caused by “parking” a cup on a certain area of the skin and leaving it there, as opposed to moving it all about the skin.
Image credit: gettyimages.com
At our facility, we typically reserve the use of parking for areas of the body that are more severely congested, such as areas where there is lots of scar tissue or damage from injuries or illnesses. If you are asking why we don’t automatically park the cup in place as opposed to the slow, gentle movement of the cup, the answer lies in the Advanced Techniques section of our website. “At Light Hand, we always work with a light touch and a deep focus. This means that we begin treating any muscle tension or pain by first flushing out the inflammation…[which] immediately reduces pain and increases circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients. This gives the muscle more of what it essentially needs to heal and function. Once the therapist feels the muscle is ready, she/he sinks in slowly to the deeper layers of the pain pattern, always “listening” with skilled, sensitive hands to the muscles response. When working deeply, but with patience and sensitivity, the therapist does not trigger a defensive reaction in the tissue. Instead, the muscles, in connection with the nervous system, utilize their own healing capabilities to relax and become more functional. As the pattern releases, the therapist is able to work diligently through deeper and deeper layers of the dysfunction. In this way, the client can experience real and lasting pain relief and whole body wellness.” So there you have it – our use of cupping therapy, relating to our vision as a whole.
If you really wish to extend your cupping experience, we also offer a special, luxurious lymphatic wrap service that includes cupping. Our “Aromatherapy Lymph Flush Cocoon” section of our website states,
“This powerful treatment utilizes lymph massage, essential oils and heat to break up lymphatic congestion and return the system to healthy flow. In accomplishing this, this treatment also helps weight reduction and smoking cessation by cleaning out the areas of stagnation in the body where toxins can build up and keep you in the cycle of craving. All this occurs while leaving you completely relaxed and feeling nurtured. Ah-mazing! To create the healing and soothing cocoon, your therapist will place you on a heated table and cover you with warm blankets. She will perform a lymphatic massage using cupping techniques and warm oil mixed with a blend of essential oils chosen for their healing properties. Once each area has been massaged, you are wrapped in the blankets ending up completely cocooned and relaxed. While you luxuriate in the warmth, the therapist gives the session its final touch with a soothing scalp and facial massage.”
If you feel like experiencing a healing, relaxing, unique and innovative cupping therapy session with us, don’t hesitate to call and make your appointment!
Stay happy and healthy, friends!