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Cupping Therapy has been around for thousands of years. The earliest recorded use of cupping came from alchemist and herbalist Ge Hong (281-341 A.D.). Around 700BC massage was practised as well as 'cupping by sucking, with the mouth or by using a buffalo horn'. Indigenous groups around the world used their natural resources for example, natives along the west coast of North America used shells, in Europe, Asia and Africa hollow animal horns provided an effective cupping device. 

The earliest pictorial records date back to the ancient Egyptians around 1500 B.C. Hippocrates viewed cupping as a remedy for almost every type of disease and some Greek physicians used the strong suction of cupping to restore spinal alignment. The Chinese expanded the utilization of cupping to include its use in surgery. In the 1950's after much extensive research the clinical efficacy of cupping therapy was confirmed. Since then, cupping has become a mainstay of government sponsored hospitals of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

Modern cupping uses a variety of sliding and stationary silicon cups for back pain, scar tissue, tight muscles, occupational overuse symptoms, as well as for detoxing, facial massage, cellulite or just to feel wonderful. Whether you are an athlete, a frequent user of computers, a body therapist, in need of relaxation, a detox or just to experience feeling good, modern cupping can help. 

There are various methods that can be applied. A variety of sizes of flexible silicon cups are applied to an area of the body which has been oiled to create suction. The cups are then moved over the skin in various directions to increase circulation and reduce muscular tension. Stationary cups can be applied to trigger points and acupuncture points whilst other cups are moved around and stretching of various muscles can be included to improve mobility and reduce pain and tension in a short time. Cupping is becoming increasingly popular amongst professional athletes and has been a therapy  offered at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Some of the benefits of Modern Cupping:

  • Circulation/Detoxification: The suction created by cupping pulls stagnant intercellular fluid to the surface, removes toxic debris and replaces it with fresh, oxygenated, nutrient rich fluid thereby creating an improved circulation of blood and lymph
  • Muscles/Joints/Ligaments: Improves circulation, reduces tension, aches and pains, draws out toxins and reduces scar tissue and areas of fibrosed tissue
  • Muscular pain: The effects of sliding cups for myofascial release plus stationary cups on trigger points is a quick and effective therapy for muscular tension and pain.
  • OOS/RSI: Cupping improves strain and occupational overuse symptoms by promoting blood flow to clear the build-up of blockages and relaxing tight muscles that are over worked
  • Digestion: stimulates the whole digestive tract
  • Relieves inflammation
  • Nervous system: relaxes and regulates the nervous system (beneficial for stress reduction)
  • Provides deep tissue massage
  • Effective therapy for scar tissue and cellulite
  • Sports/athletes: beneficial treatment for injuries, reduces healing time
  • Digestive system: Constipation, IBS, organ congestion
  • Metabolic: Improves energy
  • Antispasmodic so it can be used for menstrual pain
  • Respiratory System: Improves circulation and reduces tension in muscles/diaphragm to help provide easy and unrestricted breathing
Cupping: I have been receiving silicon cupping massage from Leanne. I have experienced many forms of bodywork but in terms of fascial treatment, I believe this to be the most effective.
Ross, Auckland 2015

Below are some ways to enjoy modern cupping therapy

Facial Cupping: 
Facial cupping uses miniature suction cups to relax the face and improve circulation. It can also be used for mild headaches and to clear sinus congestion. Miniature cups lightly suction the skin & muscles of the face, it is very gentle and has a cleansing, tightening and rejuvenating effect which relaxes and improves the condition of the skin. 

Detoxification Program: 
Cupping is a unique method for effectively drawing out toxins from both superficial and deep levels within the body. It can be combined with a detoxification programme which includes remedies and dietary changes.

Lymphatic Drainage: 
Cupping improves the lymphatic circulation thereby helping with detoxification, to improve the immune system and reducing edema. It also helps with weight loss.

Cellulite, Stretch Marks and Fibrosed tissues: 
Cupping improves blood circulation, elimination of tissue wastes, reduces cellulite and softens and restores integrity to areas of fibrosed tissue. 

Abdominal Cupping Massage: 
Abdominal Cupping Massage uses acupressure points in combination with massage techniques to ease and restore the mechanisms of this area of the body. This can be very beneficial for digestive and bowel complaints. 

Back & Limbs: 
For relaxation, muscle tension, stress or old injuries. 

When Not to have Cupping Therapy:

  • Pregnancy
  • Cardiac and Renal Failure
  • Severe edema
  • Hemorrhagic diseases
  • Leukemia
  • Allergic Dermatitis
  • Feverish conditions

Note: Cupping is contraindicated for pregnancy and in some health conditions. In areas of tissue dysfunction, this technique may leave a temporary mark which resembles a bruise but is not painful. Traditional Chinese Medicine regards these discolorations an indication that toxins and stagnation are being pulled to the surface of the body, restoring blood flow below. Different colours are indicators of the conditions within the body. For example a dark purple/black marking indicates deep seated blood stasis that often shows over an area with a chronic unresolved injury or areas of pain, skin that is paler than surrounding tissue can indicate Qi deficiency. The discolorations will fade as the toxins and blood pulled from within the muscles are flushed out of the system. 

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