Unlike traditional massage therapy, which compresses tissue, cupping provides negative pressure to skin, muscles and connective tissue. By creating a suction force, the skin and superficial layer of tissue are lifted off of the muscles and deeper structures. By lifting the skin and increasing the volume of space underneath the skin, pressure is decreased on the pain receptions, fluid movement (blood flow and swelling) is improved, and pain is often lessened. By improving the circulation to an area, more nutrients are able to enter the injured area, and more waste products are able to be flushed, allowing for faster healing.
Cupping is a therapeutic technique which dates all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C. Popularized at the most recently summer Olympics, cupping therapy has become a "go to" treatment for professional and amateur athletes looking to relieve muscle tension and improve preformance.
At Energize Health, we offer three therapeutic cupping techniques: suction cupping, vacutherapy and fire cupping. Suction cupping is a more modern version of cupping in which a rubber pump is used to create a vacuum inside a plastic cup. Vaccutherapy is similar to suction cupping, except it uses a machine to create a very specific suction force inside a glass cup. Fire cupping is an ancient technique and suction is created using heat from a small burning piece of cotton. When suctioned, the cups are pliable enough to be moved from place to place on the skin and produce a massage-like effect.
After Cupping, it is not uncommon for patients to have redness and sometimes broken blood vessels in the area where the cups were applied. This is not a reason for concern and the marks usually fade within a few hours. People with sensitive and/or lighter coloured skin may notice the marks for several days.