Cupping 101: What It Is, Where It’s From, And How It Helps

Cupping has recently become a popular wellness trend among celebrities and sports stars alike, but what exactly does it entail, and does it actually offer any health benefits? Read on from the experts at the best spa in Bozeman.

The practice of cupping has a 2,000-year history as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It was developed to promote blood flow and healing within the body by bringing old blood to the skin’s surface so that new blood can rush in to take its place, and by breaking up stagnation within the muscles themselves. In this way, it can be seen as a kind of reverse massage, instead of the muscles being pushed down, the practitioner sucks them up to loosen them, for this reason, it has many of the same benefits of traditional massage.

The technique of cupping involves placing small cups directly onto the skin. Most commonly these cups are made of glass, bamboo or silicone, but they can also be plastic. Glass cups are applied in the traditional way – by using a flame to heat the inside of the cup before it is placed onto the skin, whereas, with plastic cups, a hose is used create the suction effect.

The cups are placed on traditional acupuncture and pain points on the body, and the focus of the treatment and the number of cups applied is dependent on the individual situation. Often tension is heavily concentrated in the back – making this the most common site for treatment. Chinese meridian points are also found along the length of the spine, and TCM practitioners use these to treat internal organs such as the liver and kidneys.

There are actually three types of cupping treatments we offer at our spa in Bozeman: wet, dry, and massage. With the dry, the cups remain in just one place on the skin, but with the massage, warm oil is applied to the skin first, which allows the cups, once placed, to be moved around. With this type, there is less chance of bruising as the cups aren’t in one place for as long. Both of these offer similar advantages, though. The wet cupping perhaps seems a little more extreme, a lancet is used to prick the skin, and the cup draws a small amount of blood from the area. This can be particularly helpful for inflammatory conditions.

While the bruises may look intimidating, and the thought of having fire-heated glass applied to your skin might seem scary, the truth is cupping is really not as painful as it seems. Once you get used to the pressure and the pulling sensation you will feel on your skin, it can start to feel rather soothing. You may feel a little sore after the treatment, in the same way that you would after a deep tissue massage.

The practice does, however, boast some incredible benefits, including pulling toxins out of the body, stimulating the healthy flow of blood and energy, and relieving pain associated with injuries.

In addition to this, it is also considered to have some cosmetic advantages. Due to cupping’s ability to stimulate fresh blood to the surface of the skin, it can help with facial rejuvenation by reducing the appearance of sagging skin and wrinkles, and also with combatting cellulite on the legs and stomach.

Furthermore, cupping may also help support the treatment of conditions such as lung disorders – colds and asthma, digestive disorders, and mood disorders - anxiety and depression. Although, as with every alternative therapy, it is always best to consult your medical practitioner first.

Overall, cupping is a low-risk procedure with an excellent array of applications, both medical and cosmetic. Your Bozeman cupping practitioner at Canyon River Spa and Salon can provide further details on the type and frequency most suitable to your needs so you can feel the full benefits of this incredibly useful treatment.

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