We practice fire cupping, which means we use a flame to burn the air out of the inside of the cup and then quickly place the glass cup onto the skin. The suction will hold the cups firmly in place and feels great. Sometimes the cups are left in place, sometimes they are slid up and down the back, sometimes they are popped on and off, depending on what your practitioner thinks is the best approach for you.
Cupping is like an inverted massage. Instead of pressure being applied into the surface of the muscles, the cups create a suction, and pull the blood to the surface of the skin. Think of your muscles like a sponge. When you have some pain or injury, nothing is moving and your muscles are stiff and stuck, like stale water in the sponge. The cups move the blood up to the surface so that new, fresh blood can come in with oxygen and immune cells to do the necessary repair work. The marks that are left behind aren’t exactly “bruises”, because the process isn’t damaging any of your cells, it is just moving blood and fluids around. What is interesting is that as an area starts to heal, and the stagnant blood gets cleared out, the marks that are left behind become less and less purple, and last for a shorter time.
So if you have an old shoulder injury, or a muscle in your back that is always twinging, you can come in and gets some acupuncture and some cupping. Or if you feel some apprehension about those tiny acupuncture needles, we can just cup you. For some people, if they have a lot of stagnation their cupping marks will be rather dark and will sometimes take 2 weeks to go away. These same people will also feel an enormous amount of relief after that first treatment. Every treatment after that, the marks will be less pronounced as there will be less and less stagnation to clear.
While cupping is safe and feels good, we do not recommend cupping for people who have bleeding disorders, are on blood thinning medications, or have anemia, any type of skin infection, or thin/fragile skin.
Dr. Jennifer Bezjek, M.S., DAOM