I call cupping therapy "reverse massage".
This is because instead of using downward pressure to manipulate tissue and alleviate your symptoms, cupping uses suction, or upward pressure. It is extremely gentle, and the sensation slowly builds as more cups are added to an area.
Both therapies have a direct impact on your nervous system, blood and fluid circulatory systems, and your soft tissue, including muscle and fascia. Any issue that can be treated with massage therapy can also be addressed with cups.
The suction from the cups has been shown to penetrate several inches into the body, influencing deep tissue, fascia, muscle tissue, and the circulatory and lymphatic system. The suction in the cups draws substances that have been stuck in the tissue up towards the surface, (which is what creates the different colored-cupping marks). Once at the surface, the body processes and removes any waste.
The list of benefits from cupping is just as long as the benefits from massage, including:
- pain relief
- injury recovery
- athletic training recovery
- functional and postural support and correction
- stress relief and recovery
- sleep improvement
- immune strengthening
- and more!
Cupping is also used more specifically as a detox method, because of its strong effect on the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for fluid and lymph circulation and plays a key role in your immune function. Your lymphatic system actually lies very close to the surface of your skin and works with your circulatory system.
This means that every time we cup, we're giving the lymphatic and circulatory system a strong boost. Cupping has been used in various cultures throughout the world for thousands of years to help speed recovery from illness including colds and flus. Certain methods of cupping can also affect certain organs, leading to a deeper level of detox and cleansing.
While cupping is a tool that acupuncturists frequently use, it's possible for massage therapists and body workers to get certified in cupping, as well.
Whether you're an Olympian, or just needing a relaxing immune boost, whenever you start to think, "I need a massage", check out cupping!