I watched as my teacher hovered a bulb-shaped glass cup over a fellow student’s bare back. She took an alcohol drenched cotton ball, lit it on fire, and using the fire to evacuate the air from the cup, quickly placed the cup on the student’s back. The vacuum drew tissues up into the cup, creating a little mound of flesh that became pink as fresh blood was drawn to the area. My teacher was demonstrating ‘Massage Cupping’ – a 2000+ year old healing tradition practiced in many cultures, but most known in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This demo took place sixteen years ago while I was in massage school and was the moment when my fascination for Cupping began.
After the demo, I booked a session to experience it for myself. I was amazed by how much more open and flexible my back felt after my first treatment. I also looked like I had been tangoing with an octopus! Areas that have old injuries or high tension can leave temporary discoloration marks, similar to a hickey.
Although I left with “hickeys” on my back, the treatment was so effective I knew I wanted to incorporate it into my massage practice, so I began studying more about it. Here’s how Cupping works from both the Western and Eastern view points:
From the Western perspective, the vacuum draws the tissues away from the bone and each other and breaks up unhealthily glued fibers. As it draws fresh blood and lymph to the area, it also moves trapped toxins out of the tissues. If the cups are glided with lotion, it creates cross-fiber friction and further enhances the ungluing of stuck tissue adhesions.
In the East, they view Cupping more from an energetic perspective. Areas that are tight or painful are often caused by stagnation or blocked energy. The vacuum draws the blocked energy up and out to the surface, releasing tension and toxins with it.
The results of Cupping can be quite remarkable. I had a client who suffered with a symptom for years that was healed with the help of Cupping. Cupping technology has evolved and there are now rubber pumps that create the vacuum that fire once did. Although I have practiced fire Cupping, I use the pumps because I prefer their flexibility and safety (see photo in ad next to article).
I offer Cupping (when indicated) at no additional charge to your session. You just need to give me your consent and be up for trying something unique. If this story has peaked your curiosity, I invite you to view some pictures and read more about cupping on my blog at www.CoCreativeHealing.com