Cupping Therapy – The Science is in the Suction

Jennifer Poplar demonstrationg fire cupping

I’ve been using various forms of cupping therapy for a LOOONNNG time. Since before I went to school to actually learn and be licensed to do it professionally (I was using it solely on myself back then of course 🙂 ). I’m constantly fascinated with just how effective a strategically place suction cup can really be. Read on discover just how YOU can benefit from this ancient yet very simple technique.

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping Therapy is an ancient healing technique with documented use dating back thousands of years. Here in North America, we commonly think of Cupping as a Traditional Chinese Medical treatment because of it’s widespread use in Asian culture. However, the earliest known use of cupping dates to 3000BC in Egypt. Historians believe cupping therapy spread from Egypt to both Ancient Greece (where Hippocrates well known to use it) and China, where it enjoys widespread adoption today. In fact, in the 1950’s cupping was established as an official therapeutic practice in China and is currently used in hospitals across the country.

Here in North America, it has become wildly popular in recent years thanks to a number of celebrities and athletes proudly displaying their “cupping marks” in public and the fact that it WORKS!

Check out these celebrities and their cupping photos:

How Does Cupping Therapy Work?

The technique involves lubricating your skin with either castor or coconut oil, then placing glass or silicone cups on the lubricated area and creating a vacuum between your skin and the cup using either fire (burning an alcohol soaked cotton swab) or a pump (manual suction – my current favorite method). This pulls you skin and the underlying tissue up into the cup… Basically a massage in reverse! Instead of pushing your skin and tissue down (in massage), I’m drawing it up with suction.

I typically work along acupuncture meridians and frequently incorporate acupuncture with cupping therapy during the same treatment session to get the compounding benefits that come from stacking certain techniques on top of one another.

The cups are generally left in place for between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on the area being worked on.

Sometimes I move (or glide) the cups along the meridian I’m working on, which is often referred to as massage cupping therapy.

Check out the video demonstration of Cupping Therapy below:

What are the benefits of Cupping Therapy?

I have found cupping therapy to be particularly effective for treating:
  • Muscle & connective tissue pain
  • Impaired range of motion issues
  • Muscle impingement
  • repetitive stress injuries
  • Strains and sprains
  • & improving circulation

It works by:

  1. Decompressing the myofascial layer just beneath your skin. This layer frequently gets “stuck” and immobile, particularly at the site of injury or trauma. By breaking up this stuck connective tissue, we’re able to restore proper function to the area while:
  2. Simultaneously increasing blood flow to the area. The suction has the added benefit or drawing fresh blood into the area I’m treating. This blood contains oxygen, nutrients and growth factors that encourage healing and repair. Finally, the decompression of the fascia combined with the flood of fresh blood:
  3. Relaxes the underlying muscle, relieving pain and improving range of motion.

It’s a trifecta of benefits that I and my clients LOVE, and….

So do a growing body of health professionals!

Check out this great video to see what Dr. Josh Axe has to say about cupping therapy:

Are there any side effects to Cupping Therapy treatments?

You will be left with the telltale circular red marks on your skin where we apply the cups. These usually dissipates within 2-3 days.

Who shouldn’t get Cupping Therapy treatments?

You should probably wait until any of the following skin conditions have cleared up before we begin any cupping therapy treatments (We’ll just stick to other modalities like traditional acupuncture):

  • sunburn
  • rash
  • blisters
  • skin wounds and cuts

Does Cupping Therapy hurt?

Cupping therapy treatments typically do not hurt, but some people find it mildly uncomfortable. This IS a healing technique. However, the majority of people don’t find it painful at all. In fact, many patients find it very relaxing.

Who should get Cupping Therapy treatments?

You, me, and everyone else! 🙂

But seriously. If you’ve got:

  • Frozen shoulder
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Migranes
  • Mobility and range of motion issues
  • Old nagging injuries
  • Chronic inflammation

Then you should consider a treatment and see what you think about the results… I’m convinced you’ll be impressed!

If you live anywhere in East Hants or Halifax Regional Municipality including Enfield, Elmsdale, Fall River, Halifax, Bedford and Dartmouth, my clinic is only a hop, skip & jump away so…

Call Jennifer to book your Cupping Therapy treatment today:

Or Use our online scheduler to book your appointment right now by clicking the button below:

What do people think about their Cupping Therapy treatments?

Here’s what some people had to say about their experience with Cupping Therapy:


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