Massage Cupping

Massage cupping really sucks!  Instead of traditional massage techniques which compress the tissue, cupping uses suction (negative pressure) to lift, spread and decompress many layers of tissue to affect the lymph, blood, fascia, muscle, scars, and skin.  Cupping can be used as a stand-alone therapy or combined or "added-on" to other techniques such as lymphatic drainage, therapeutic massage, and energy healing.  Cupping techniques reduce inflammation, muscle tension and can increase and improve circulation, detoxification and range of movement.  It is particularly great for stubborn patterns, swelling, injuries, scars, and after surgery.

Upgrading the Ancient Techniques
of Cupping

Although various forms of cupping have been around for thousands of years from China, ancient Greece, Eqypt and India, the most recent summer Olympics placed it back into the spotlight when many elite level athletes (swimmers) were seen with the trademark "marks" of cupping during competition. 

In addition to the traditional glass cups used by Chinese Medicine for fire cupping, new equipment and cups have been developed with softer materials such as silicone allowing for more movement, gliding, stretching with the cups applied to tissue from either the massage therapist and/or the client!  This upgraded version of cupping, often called contemporary massage cupping methods, has a profound impact on more tissue in a shorter amount of time.

The forms of cupping we currently offer in our office are massage cupping, biomagnetic cupping (suction with magnetic therapy), & dynamic cupping (stretching the client while cupped)We do not offer fire cupping. The equipment LymphWorks' therapists most often utilize are Bagunfa silicone cups, Kangzhu cups, and Earthspa Bells and Belletazze.

Massage Cupping, when the cups are applied and moving has also been called "glide cupping", "negative pressure massage", "pneumatic therapy", "cupping massage", "drudging the channels", "running cups", "moving cup method", or "migrating cups".  

What Are Those Cupping Marks?

Massage cupping marks are NOT bruises!  The discolorations are a great indication of the most important areas to work on a client's body!  Cupping marks that sometimes occur during and after cupping therapy are the waste products, toxins, stagnant fluids, known in Chinese medicine as "poisons" or "bad chi" that are brought from deep in the tissue to the surface for clearing.  The appearance of what emerges may vary according to the severity of the clients "stasis" or "stagnation".  The coloring will usually range from a light pink, to shades of red, to purple-black.  These marks will often fade withing a few hours to two weeks.  The length of time it takes for the marks to clear is ALSO an indication of the severity of a clients stagnation or varied levels of circulation.  The darker areas are an indication to the therapist that more circulation and drainage is needed in an area.  As a client receives more massage cupping sessions, the marks will occur less and less.

A client may be sore and/or experience detoxification effects after a cupping session such as excess urination but if they follow the same tips before and after a session as they do for Lymphatic Drainage, the symptoms are often lessened, short-lived, and manageable.  Because of the uniqueness of this therapy, each client who wishes to receive cupping therapy is asked to read and sign the following massage cupping release form prior to receiving any massage cupping technique.

A well trained massage cupping therapist will always begin with gentle cupping suction and shorter time periods and work with each client to assess how the client's body responds to this remarkably effective therapy.  Safe and individualized plans will be determined together to ensure therapeutic benefits and responses meet the client's needs and comfort level.

What Is Massage Cupping Good For?

Cupping is extremely effective at pulling stagnation out of tissues and bringing it to the surface level, expanding pores and allowing these wastes and toxins to be accessed, collected, and flushed out by the body's lymphatic and circulatory systemsDetoxification is made even simpler by the increased fresh blood circulation to all the areas worked.  

Contracted, congested tissue structures and scars soften quickly with negative pressure and this expansion of the localized tissue produces better blood flow, metabolism, better functioning sweat glands, improved lymph and a healthy new supply of nutrients to an area.  Let's not forget, the decompression of long-held tight or restricted problem areas feels absolutely amazing!

Cupping also allows the therapist to get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time, often setting cups in one area while the therapist prepares or massages a different area of the client's body.  

Massage cupping in the abdominal and digestive areas can stimulate the peristaltic movement of the intestines and the secretion of digestive juices.  If the client has experienced any surgical intervention such as removal of a gall bladder, hysterectomy, c-section, tummy tuck, the cupping can soften and realign scar tissue like no other intervention may.

In the lungs and respiratory areas, it can be used on chronic and stubborn asthma and bronchial infections.

The nervous system is often sedated by the strong, stimulating pull on the millions of nerve endings it can impact.

Post surgical work can be performed as soon as 8 weeks after your intervention and can be used to soften, realign, and improve the function and appearance of scar tissue and range of movement in and around the area.

The most common areas that can be cupped are the back and spine, cellulite (on glutes, hips and thighs), the abdomen, upper and lower arms, face, and posterior neck but ask your cupping therapist if your symptoms or conditions can be aided with the use of cups.

Who Can Receive Massage Cupping?

Ask your LymphWorks therapist if cupping may be a good fit for you.  

The following conditions are advised to avoid massage cupping or receive approval from your physician prior to cupping:

Ø  Broken or fractured bones, dislocations, hernias, slipped discs, organ failure, and those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

 Ø  Sunburn, ruptured, ulcerated or inflamed skin.

  Ø  Fever, convulsion or easy bleeding.

 Ø  Those on blood thinners, hemophiliacs and those with high or low blood pressure or diabetes must us light pressure when cupping.  Low blood pressure clients must rest before rising off the table.

 Ø  Pregnancy – unless the client is experienced at receiving massage cupping, the therapist will not conduct cupping sessions until the 2nd trimester.

 Ø  Liver or kidney functional illness, cardiopathy, 3D varicosities, systemic cancers or recent surgical incisions younger than 8 weeks old.

 Ø  Acute stages of Psoriasis, Eczema, Rosacea or outbreaks of hives, herpes or Shingles.

 Ø  If you have raised moles, skin tags, please inform the therapist if they are sensitive or need to be avoided.

Ø  Implants such as pace makers or insulin monitors CANNOT receive bio-magnetic cupping over these areas.

Ø  Abdomen:  Mesh, staples, IUDs, ulcers should be avoided with cupping therapy.

 Ø  Any ferrous metal joint, bone replacements or plates CANNOT receive magnetic cupping over these areas.  (Ferrous metals have IRON in them.  Non-ferrous metals may be Aluminum, Copper, Brass, Stainless Steel or Titanium).

Massage Cupping and Breast Cancer

After chemotherapy and at least 8 weeks after radiation therapy, clients who have undergone any form of cancer treatment may receive massage cupping therapy.  If you are on a continued chemotherapy or maintenance plan, please receive written permission from your Doctor prior to this therapy.  

Often times, after radiation, mastectomy, tram-flap, reconstruction, or lumpectomy, the tissue is fibrotic, scarred or adhered to underlying tissues or structures.  This may severely limit your range of movement, posture, mood, lymph and blood circulation, and create pain or restriction on nerves along with other symptoms such as weakness, numbness, or tingling.  If you find your are not receiving the relief, change or improvement after physical therapy or other interventions, please consider massage cupping as an option. 

 Lymphworks therapists will always begin gently to see just how much decompression, spreading, opening, and freeing we can create in your body with cupping techniques and lymphatic drainage after surgical or radialogical intervention.


For more information on cupping therapy, please visit the International Cupping Therapy Association website!

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