Our Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist Sandra O’Hagan often uses a technique called cupping in her treatments. You may have heard of this before, as celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston are fans.
What is cupping?
Cupping is used in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s an ancient technique used to stimulate the acupuncture points or larger areas of the body. Sandra uses cupping in combination with acupuncture, however many of her patients like to book cupping as a treatment on its own.
How does it work?
Cupping involves creating a vacuum inside a round glass or bamboo cup by inserting a naked flame, removing it, then placing the cup quickly on the area to be treated before the vacuum is lost.
The cups are then left in place for anything up to 20mins.
If it is a large area that needs treating, the ‘sliding cups’ technique is used. A thin layer of massage oil is smoothed over the skin, the cups are placed onto the body as before and then slid through the oil, along the muscles being treated.
Does it hurt?
Though cupping isn’t painful, it can leave slightly red patches on the skin, like circular bruises. Despite their resemblance to bruises, the muscles have not been traumatised in any way. The redness indicates that there has been movement in the circulation under and around the cups.
Not all treatments will result in redness. This entirely depends on the complaint being addressed.