Our massage therapist, Hannah, has been using cupping as part of her Deep Tissue and Sports Injury Massage Therapies for over a year now.
Hannah says, “Cupping is a safe, traditional treatment that helps resolve chronically tight muscles and pain. The suction from the cups increases circulation to the area where the cups are placed. The additional blood flow to that area can help relieve muscle tension and promote cell repair. It is very effective when used alongside massage.
“Since introducing cupping alongside Deep Tissue and Sports Injury Massage, many patients have found it very beneficial. The increased blood flow to a specific area can dramatically loosen and free up tight and restricted muscles. In addition to this, cupping has had a positive effect on a variety of conditions such as carpal tunnel, and has eased the discomfort of arthritis.
“I use a combination of techniques depending on what I am treating. Static cupping is great for trigger points and targeted pain. Whereas the gliding technique will loosen the whole muscle or area. The suction of the cups can be adjusted, so I usually start with a light suction to allow the patient to experience what it feels like. Cupping can leave marks on the skin, which are painless and usually fade in a couple of days. The marks left are an indicator of stagnant blood.”
What is the difference between static and gliding techniques?
Static cupping is where the cup is kept on a specific spot, for example, on a trigger point (like a ‘knot’ but worse) or a particular tight area for a certain amount of time. You may have seen athletes on TV with round, bruised-looking marks. These marks are from static cupping and show where blood has been drawn up to the skin. This technique is great for really working out those pesky knots!
When I use static cupping as part of a massage treatment, I leave the cup on for a few minutes and continue to work on another area of the body. Multiple cups can be applied to really target a problematic area.
Gliding tends to use less suction. Once oil is applied to the area, I move the cup in a gentle gliding motion over the whole muscle. This technique is very beneficial for larger muscle groups like the legs or when the shoulders are feeling generally achy and stiff.”
A patient’s view of cupping
Our patient, Lindsay Morgan, had this to say about cupping and Hannah’s massage treatments:
An outstanding masseuse
I’m a huge advocate of sports massages … when you can find a good one. And that is, unfortunately, often harder than it should be. But not in the case of Hannah Day. I’ve been seeing her on a regular basis for the past 18 months, and I have no intention of stopping. Like most people in their 60s’ (nearer 70 if I’m being absolutely truthful!), my body can decide to show my age with the odd back ache or muscle spasm, every one of which Hannah attacks with genuine (and, if I may say, somewhat alarming) enthusiasm. I would be lying if I said the whole experience was always of the ‘zen’ variety – but the results have been, and are still continuing to be, outstanding.
18 months ago, I literally hobbled into the Practice, hoping against hope I could be restored to reasonable mobility. The results have been better than even I could have anticipated, and I now have a very active life that includes walking an average of 6 miles a day and wild swimming.
But the biggest change in my life has been since Hannah introduced me to the ‘Joys’ of cupping (and the quotation marks are deliberate). I’m not a keen advocate for some of the more holistic practices so when Hannah first mentioned cupping, I somewhat pooh-pooded it. Thank god I agreed to let her try them – specifically on my neck. For years, it had been getting stiffer and stiffer – and literally ‘crunched’ when I turned it, all of which I had put down to arthritis.
Boy, was I wrong (and yes, Hannah – you were right!). One session with the cups and it totally freed my neck – to the point that the release of pressure was so massive that I had to sit down for five minutes before I felt totally safe to stand – let alone drive home. Apparently, my neck is where I store tension – and the tendons were so tight it was reducing the blood supply. No wonder I was off-kilter when it was released. Yes, it can bruise and redden the skin – but that goes within a couple of days, and the benefits far outweigh that minor inconvenience.
So, if Hannah suggests cupping to you, do it. I think you will be amazed by the results.”
Hannah works closely with our chiropractors, and many of our patients benefit from a combination of massage therapy and chiropractic care.
*Images are examples of cupping