What are these raised red circles all over the Olympic swimmer’s, celebrity’s, your best friend’s back and beyond?  I like to explain cupping to my clients as taking massage to the next level. With my hands, I can only press down on my client’s tissue. However, the suction that is created by a cup can pull UP on the tissue, and voila! I become massage therapist extraordinaire!

Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.  In my practice, cupping involves applying silicone or plastic cups to specific areas of the skin in a way that creates suction to loosen muscles, increase circulation and draw out toxins that linger in the tissues. It’s a form of deep tissue therapy that can penetrate up to one inch into the muscle layer, getting to those DEEP knots and adhesions my elbows could not even get close to. By creating a vacuum inside the cup, it draws the skin and layers of muscle into the cup, which breaks up muscle knots. It also allows me to work on areas that can be challenging to get a strong grip on but are chronically tight on many clients, like the IT Bands, or the forearms.

In massage cupping, the cup becomes an extension of my own body. After working with cups for many years, I am able to feel the knots and adhesions through them as well as I can with my hands and forearms.  There usually is discoloration that comes with cupping. This is referred to as a “non impact bruise” or in Chinese medicine, it is said that the body is ridding itself of toxins and is a positive sign.  I tailor each massage session, so if you’re going to prom that night, you may not want your first cupping experience that afternoon. But hey, Gwyneth Paltrow went to a film premiere in a backless dress & ROCKED her cup marks, so maybe there will be a line out my office door before the next Homecoming!

Jeannien, Krista and I all incorporate cupping into our massage. Please let us know if you’re interesting in receiving it in your next treatment with one of us. Go to sirinmassage.com to schedule an appointment.

Written by Joy Dunning, LMP