Fire cupping

     Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine, the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy dating back to 1,550 B.C. This non-invasive manual therapy yields positive results related to relaxation and pain management. Fire cupping, also known as "cupping therapy", is a treatment technique that places glass, silicon, Earthenware, bamboo, or plastic jars on the skin to enhance circulation, relieve pain, and extract toxins from the body. Cupping therapy treatments are based on  that which is the opposite of massage treatments, in that, it is placing the cups on the skin, which applies vacuum pressure and generates suction on the skin as opposed to massage therapy which involves applying downward pressure on the skin and underlying tissues.

     The suction, and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). In cupping therapy, I will soak a cotton ball in alcohol, and light it on fire inside a glass cup. Then I remove the flame, and quickly place the cup on my client’s skin, creating a vacuum that draws up the skin tissue. When the skin seals the hot air in the vessel, the air inside begins to cool, causing the skin to contract. Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. not only can we use cupping to treat pain, we can also, ease, or eliminate scar tissue deep within muscles and connective tissues, and reduce swelling and muscle knots. We can effectively reduce muscle tension and inflammation, and promotes healing.

     Also, like many complementary treatments, cupping is supposed to minimize circulating toxins by drawing them into the skin where they are more easily removed. Increasing blood flow is the body’s way of naturally healing, Cupping is a therapy used to remove stagnation, and stimulate the flow of qi (chi). Qi is the free flow of vital energy circulating through the body and the world around us, if the qi is disrupted or disturbed, it can create stagnation (blockages) or imbalances in the body. Cupping marks can last anywhere from one hour to up to three weeks depending on the severity of toxins released. Very occasionally there can be some bleeding or blistering but this is not something to be alarmed about. Cupping can be done as often as two times a week. By drawing impurities to the surface, it removes toxins. If the cupping left severe red marks, most often we will wait until the marks go away...or have faded before cupping again. It is expected that over several weeks of repeated cupping treatments, the bruising will decrease as the stagnation resolves. This indicates a successful result of a cupping treatment protocol.

     Michael Phelps made his cupping debut at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, although I began practicing cupping 10 years prior to the this event.  It is really cool that athletes like Phelps continue to use it to help quicken their recovery. This provided a great way to mainstream cupping, educating the world on the ancient form of healing, and making it popular once again. If you haven't tried cupping yet, you should do so, its definitely a good add-on therapy with your massage, and it just might make you feel a little better. You can schedule a cupping session with Maria J. Toro, LMT on Mercer Island, at Leguerisseur Healing Center.


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