by Frank Lai, RMT
I have been aware of suction cup therapy since I was a child in Taiwan. My father is a doctor of Chinese medicine and he uses this ancient technique every day in his practice. I am a great believer in its benefits, and use it where appropriate to enhance both relaxation and therapeutic massage treatments.
The therapy has two stages: assessment and treatment. Once assessment of the patient’s condition has been completed through questioning and physical testing, the cups are applied to the areas requiring attention and left in place for five to ten minutes. The vacuum created by expelling air from the cups creates suction which mobilizes blood flow and promotes healing. It also resets the fascia if they are compressed or misaligned.
Cupping is often used on the broad areas of the back, and is a wonderful addition to any massage.
The treatment is sedating, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. Larger cups may be used on the back for a stronger effect. The strong vacuum mimics the rolling action of deep tissue massage without the discomfort. The movement may be long and draining, or circular and stimulating, for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue.
Cupping can also be used to treat:
- blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia
- rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
- fertility and gynecological disorders
- skin problems such as eczema and acne
- high blood pressure (hypertension )
- anxiety and depression
- bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
- varicose veins
It can have minor side effects, including:
- mild discomfort
Cupping should not be used on:
- pregnant or menstruating women
- people with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread from one part of the body to another)
- people with bone fractures or muscle spasms
and must not be applied to sites with:
- a deep vein thrombosis
- an ulcer
- an artery
- a pulse that can be felt
Frank is a registered massage therapist at Integrated Therapies.
If you would like to experience the benefits of massage therapy with cupping,
book an appointment to see him. Call (780) 432-4803 or book online.