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Cupping is done using polished glass cups or silicone cups of various sizes, depending on the area that you are treating. For fire cupping, a flame is placed inside of the cup, to draw the oxygen out. The lack of oxygen creates a suction and with a quick hand you place the cup on the tissue.Silicone cups create a suction by squeezing them together before placing them on the body.
The suction creates a kind of reverse massage, pulling the tissue up and creating space, instead of pushing down. Moving the cups around with the suction helps massage the tissue, gets the blood flowing, and it feels pretty amazing! Stagnant cupping, or leaving the cups in one spot for 5-8 minutes, creates a myofascial release, allowing the connective tissue around the muscle to relax, thus making the massage work more effectively.
Another benefit of cupping is that the suction will draw out stagnate blood from the muscle, allowing it to get into the space where the lymphatic system can more easily process it out of the body. This allows for faster healing, and removal of lactic acid and other toxins that build up from muscle metabolism. When there is poor blood flow from stagnation, the cups can leave a red or purple discoloration that looks like a bruise. It’s actually not painful like a bruise because there is no contusion that is causing actual tissue damage! As cupping treatment is continued overtime, the color reaction will change as the tissue gets a healthier blood flow. Those that receive regular cupping treatments may end up with no discoloration following their cupping treatment. Cupping can also be used to treat early stage colds and flu, trauma, and muscle pain, especially in the back and shoulders.