A few years ago cupping was the latest trend with celebrities with many coming out to praise the benefits of the practice. Swimmer Michael Phelps, pop star Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian have all done cupping and who can forget actress Gwyneth Paltrow turning up to the premiere of Anchorman with circular bruising on her back?
But what actually is cupping and why has it continued to stay a popular massage technique?
Dating back thousands of years, cupping is an ancient therapy that is popular in many Middle Eastern cultures as well as throughout China and Egypt. The earliest and most well known mention of cupping is in the ancient book, Bo Shu, however it has also been mentioned in other ancient texts. It was not until hundreds of years later that Su Sen Liang Fang discovered that cupping was successful in the treatment of both poisonous snakebites and severe coughs, prompting believers in the treatment to experiment on other ailments.
The technique works through suction where the cup is applied to the skin and, combined with massage or even acupuncture, can promote healing. Cupping brings fluid into the area of skin it is covering, leaving a ‘bruise’ thanks to the broken blood vessels.
Many experts also believe that cupping massage – which usually lasts only a couple of minutes – can be as effective as 30 minutes of deep tissue massage. This is due to the pressure of cupping separating the layers of tissue therefore leaving space for old ‘debris’ to be washed out, leaving the treated area more prone to rehydration.
There have been many ailments that cupping can work on including sore muscles, reducing back and neck pain, arthritis (particularly in the knees) and improving your immune function. It has been proven to lower cholesterol and aide with skin complaints such as acne while the technique can also lift the tissue resulting in a tightening effect of the skin.
We believe that cupping is a beneficial treatment that should be explored more by massage therapists and their clients. We currently supply Bellabaci cups and accessories in our shop. The Bellabaci cupping technique differs slightly to more traditional cupping, as the cups are movable therefore performs a massage. Not only does this reduce the intensity of the marks that are left, but it can also last longer than a few minutes.