Cupping is one of the oldest forms of therapy and has been in use on every continent around the world. Modern and traditional cupping are the perfect alternative to acupuncture and complement to similar therapies, such as Gua Sha and Baunscheidttherapie.
Cupping can be administered as an invigorating and relaxing massage, as a way of mending, knitting and working our fascia, or applied to specific organ regions, acupuncture points, meridian channels, muscle and joints, or a mix of both, to relieve tension and pain, as well as activate and speed up the body’s self-healing process.
How does cupping work? The suction associated with cupping is what makes this therapy so effective. The force is created by differences in pressure, for example, low pressure inside the cup caused by fire or pumping action.
Different grades of suction are used in cupping, sometimes up to five types, and are essential in the treatment of a patient’s condition - especially when faced with an excess or deficiency in the body. The practitioner recognises what is needed and either uses the cups to tonify or strengthen a particular organ, meridian, body region or energy – or to disperse and remove stagnation, cold or other condition.
Using the cups heavy-handedly is not always the most optimal approach. Sometimes the softest and most gentle pressure or suction is far more effective. A fundamental holistic understanding of the body, as well as its anatomy, physiology and energetic-based principles are essential.
The suction force generated while cupping helps focus and activate the body’s natural self-healing process by drawing fluid, nutrients, oxygen and energy to the area under treatment.
Oils are often used and chosen for their healing properties. In certain cases, small incisions or pin pricks can be made in the skin, and the cups applied, whereby blood is letted. Even moxa can be used with cupping.
Cupping influences the movement of fluid, energy and conditions, such as wind, dryness, dampness, cold, heat and their manifestations such as phlegm. Therefore it is a proven therapy for respiratory illnesses and digestive disorders.
Cupping is used for relieving pain, improving circulation, releasing stagnation, softening tissue, treating infection and detoxifying the body. It can speed up the healing process because of its direct and immediate stimulation of the body.
Cups can be made of glass, bone, bamboo, silicon or plastic. They can be left to stand for 15-20 minutes or used in a sliding cup massage using special oils.
A typical side effect of cupping is the discoloration of the skin after the removal of cups. There are many ways to interpret the discoloration but in general it signals the condition of our internal environment (stagnation, heat, damp, cold) and how this condition has been drawn to the surface.
Sliding cup massage along the iliotibial band, achilles, hamstrings, calves, quads, glutes, hips, lower back, feet, etc., has a similar effect on the body as foam rolling: it minimises and reduces fatigue, soreness and tightness, calms the nervous system, refreshes the body, breaks down and transports away any hard or soft build up of waste.
A short note on Wet Cupping
Wet cupping or Chinese bloodletting, also known as phlebotomy in a Western medicine clinical setting, is a traditional medicine practice that actually predates acupuncture and has been widely used around the world through techniques such as scarring and the application of leeches to the body. Bloodletting today relies on hypodermic needles and lancets to practice venesection or the incision of a vein to allow blood to seep out. This is often combined with cupping and is known as wet cupping.
The idea behind bloodletting is to remove old stagnant blood and subsequent waste in that particular blood, as well as prevent blood stasis in general through the letting or movement of the blood via a miniscule incision in the skin or vein. The puncture can relieve pressure and circulatory stagnation, thereby promoting the return of new blood, normal circulation and life force back to the affected area. The physical and psychological benefits can be instant.
Evidence of bloodletting can be dated back to Ancient Egypt, with an over three thousand year history. It is only in recent times that modern medicine and its shift in understanding disease deemed the practice of bloodletting as ineffective and obsolete. However, bloodletting is still practised successfully around the world, with the Master Tung zones and Luo channel theory being particularly important in holistic treatment.
A short note on Moxa
Mugwort is the herb used in the practice of moxibustion (the burning of moxa). Mugwort is renown as a pain relieving herb, and can be used for treating the liver, digestion issues, in parasite cures and to calm the nervous system. Mugwort has been used in the past and still today for spiritual protection and development.
In the practice of moxibustion, moxa sticks made up of Mugwort are used to heat and dispel cold, deficiency and stagnation in the body’s meridian channels and points, as well as to tonify Qi. Basically moxibustion is a form of heat therapy that has been practised for centuries in China and other parts of the world.
Treatment usually takes between 10-20 minutes for a particular area or point, and is used in combination with other therapies such as cupping and Gua Sha. The moxa stick or cone is either placed directly on the skin or held above. Sticks can be bought already made or moxa punk can be purchased to make your own cones.
A short note on Gua Sha
Gua Sha is sometimes thought of as scraping by those unfamiliar with its practice. The technique of Gua Sha doesn’t actually scrape anything away from the skin. Instead Gua Sha is the technique of stroking the skin using a rounded instrument with adequate pressure applied, to trigger Sha (toxins appearing as redness or dots) to leave the body’s deep or superficial tissue so that it can rise to the skin’s surface in a process of release and exit.
Gua Sha is applied using a particular instrument in a single direction and works on the body’s tissue and fascia, blood and other fluids, and Qi and meridians. Redness and petechiae are the result of toxins, waste, pathogens, etc., being released through the skin’s surface. These can remain until the body’s self healing process is complete.
The right tool and technique, as well as the palpation of the skin feeling for excess, deficiency, stagnation, hot, cold, dampness, dryness, wind, softness, hardness, and other indicators, are all essential in the proper application and success of Gua Sha. The individual constitution and health status also need to be taken into consideration so that the technique is not excessive and depleting but rather soothing and tonifying, if needed.
- Sliding cup massage and therapeutic cupping (static / stretching)
- Modern and traditional cupping techniques
- Pump, silicon and glass cups with fire
- Cupping for pain relief, relaxation, tension release, or other
- Where needed Gua Sha and moxa
- If applicable, wet cupping
- Half hourly rate AUD$40
- Discounts apply for multiple sessions over a long term period.
Info for clients
- Please don’t eat 30-60 minutes before treatment
- Sliding cup massage and cupping therapy is performed clothed except for the area to be treated
- Massage table is provided or you can provide your own
- Feet to be washed before the session if this area is to be treated
- For cupping of joints, a dough will made and applied to the joint to secure the cups
- Avoid showering a min. of 8 hours after the massage, if possible up to 2 days
- Keep the area cupped warm and out of cold/wind/damp
- Drink enough water afterwards to assist the body in the cleansing process
Any questions, please feel welcome to contact me on +61 (0)448 381 306 or by email.
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