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Cupping

Of all the modalities I use in my practice, cupping may just be the one my patients love the most.

Scroll down to read moreor click the "schedule now" button if you're ready to set up an appointment online. (Cupping is done as part of your acupuncture treatment when indicated. Please reach out to me if you have questions prior to scheduling.)

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What is Cupping?

Cupping is an alternative therapy that involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. This practice has roots in ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern cultures. There are different types of cups, the two most common being glass or plastic. The cups can be left in place (stationary cupping) or moved across the skin (moving or "running" cups).

Traditional Glass/Fire Cupping

 

This method uses glass cups and a flame to create suction. The flame burns off the oxygen inside the cup, creating a vacuum. Following the flame's removal, the cup is swiftly placed onto the skin. If done too slowly, the suction will be weak (it allows time for oxygen to re-enter the cup), hence this motion is key and requires some skill. This is the style I use in my practice. Most of my patients prefer it for its smooth feel and its effectiveness. (The lip of the glass cups is thicker/flatter, which many say feels more comfortable on their skin, especially when the cups are moved.)

Plastic Cupping

 

Plastic cups use a pump mechanism to create suction without the need for a flame. This method is often preferred by professionals outside the Chinese Medicine field (massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and laypeople) for ease of use. I sometimes recommend it for at-home treatments between acupuncture visits, as it's fairly simple to learn and implement.

Stationary Cupping

 

In stationary cupping, the cups are placed on the skin and left in one place for several minutes. This method is used to increase blood flow to a specific area, relieve muscle tension, and promote healing.

 

Moving Cupping

 

Also known as sliding or "running" cupping, this technique involves applying oil to the skin before placing the cups. The cups are then moved across the skin to massage the underlying tissues. This method combines the benefits of traditional cupping with those of a deep tissue massage, helping to reduce muscle pain, drain lymph, and improve circulation over a larger area.

How does Cupping work?
  • The suction draws the skin and superficial muscle layer into the cup. This causes blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow to the area.

  • The increased blood flow brings nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, promoting healing and reducing muscle tension and inflammation.

  • The suction also helps to loosen and lift connective tissues, which can release muscle knots and improve flexibility.

What does Cupping treat?

Common conditions that respond well to cupping:

  • Muscle Pain and Tension, especially in the Back, Neck, and Shoulders

  • Lower Back Pain and Sciatica

  • Joint Pain and Stiffness

  • Headaches and Migraines

  • Colds and Congestion

  • Bronchitis and Asthma

  • Persistent Coughs

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • Constipation and Bloating

  • Sports Injuries and Improved Athletic Performance

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Anxiety and Stress

  • High Blood Pressure

What to Expect from a Cupping Treatment

Here's what you can expect from a typical cupping treatment:

Before the Treatment

  • Consultation: I'll ask about your medical history, current health condition, and the specific issues you want to address with cupping. Since I usually do cupping as part of an acupuncture treatment, we'll already have covered all this as part of your acupuncture intake.

During the Treatment

  • Preparation: I may ask you to remove clothing from the area to be treated. Generally, it's a good idea to wear loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment. If needed, I'll provide you with a gown and/or towels to cover parts of your body while I step out of the treatment room.

  • Positioning: You will lie down on a massage table for the cupping treatment. Depending on which area we're treating, you may be face-up or face-down. An infrared heat lamp will be available to keep you warm, and I'll ensure that you feel comfortable and relaxed at all times.

  • Cup Placement and Duration: The cups will be placed on the area of your body we are treating. They may be left in place for 5 to 15 minutes, or I may move them gently across your skin after applying oil to it and doing some massage to loosen up the muscles.

  • Sensation: You will feel a pulling sensation as the skin and underlying tissues are drawn into the cup. The intensity of the suction can be adjusted to your comfort level.

  • Relaxation: Many people find the process relaxing and may feel a sense of relief as tension is released from the muscles.

After the Treatment

  • Removal: After the treatment, I'll remove the cups by releasing the suction. This is done gently to avoid discomfort.

  • Immediate Effects: You may notice circular marks or bruises on your skin where the cups were placed. These marks are usually painless and fade within a few days to a week. Some people may feel sensitivity, like a slight sunburn or a sense of soreness.

  • Aftercare: After your cupping treatment, I recommend you drink plenty of water to help your body flush out any toxins that have been released. It's best to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity for a few hours after the session.
     

Benefits to Expect from your Treatment

  • Pain Relief: Most people experience immediate relief from muscle tension and pain.

  • Improved Circulation: Increased blood flow to the treated areas can promote healing and reduce inflammation.

  • Relaxation: The treatment often induces a state of relaxation and well-being. Most of my patients leave their session experiencing what we call the "Qi High." It's akin to the feeling of being "in the zone" after a great workout—your mind is clear, your body relaxed.
     

Follow-Up
 

  • I may recommend a series of treatments for optimal results, depending on your condition and response to cupping. Acute conditions can usually be resolved in a few treatments, while chronic conditions respond best to regular care.

  • Be sure to communicate with me about your comfort and any concerns you may have throughout the treatment—I can always adjust the level of intensity to suit your needs and preference.

Patient Testimonial

Amazing. Simply amazing. Angie is a wonderful healer. She really spends time getting to know you and what your needs are. I had never done cupping or acupuncture. I’ve had decades of pain connected to neck and spinal issues. I have done years of chiropractic sessions, stretching, and massage. Nothing has given me such immediate relief! It works! I would highly recommend Angie for anyone wanting to try an alternative to traditional medicine.

Ed S.

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