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What is Cupping Therapy?

I’ve personally found great relief through cupping, especially in some hard-to-relieve areas that traditional massage may not quite reach. The added circulation benefits seem to have a positive effect on inflammation in my muscle tissue and soothe some deep pain. While the benefits of cupping therapy are numerous, there seems to be a lot of mystery around this 3000 year old TCM practice.

Here are a few of the most common questions around cupping therapy:

First things first…

What is cupping therapy?

A very simple explanation: cupping therapy is the opposite of a massage. Cupping offers decompression rather than the compression of most types of massage.

According to TCM Health Care, "Cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese Medicine therapy in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (either by heat or suction) in order to draw and hold skin and superficial muscles inside the cup."

Does cupping mark the skin?

If your body is totally healthy, it's possible the cups will not leave marks. If you're like most of us, you may have some room for improvement and the cupping marks can help you understand where to focus. Left from the suction of the cups, these marks are much more than just a bruise or "hickey."

The color, density and location of the marks are all indications of how your body is performing internally. Below is a chart that provides a simple overview of the possible skin variations that may appear after cupping, and the significance of the location on the body.

What are the benefits of cupping?

Science Direct verifies the benefits of cupping, "Cupping therapy has been used for health promotion, preventive, and therapeutic purposes." Below is a short list of the many conditions and ailments that may be improved with cupping therapy:

  • Back and neck Pains

  • Stiff muscles

  • Paralysis

  • Gastrointestinal disorders

  • Lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma)

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Migraines

  • Rheumatism

To Cup, or Not to Cup?

While cupping is beneficial for most adults, there are some groups that may be adversely effected by cupping due to issues with circulation. Below are the details from Science Direct of who should avoid cupping therapy:

Absolute contraindication: cancer patients and those with any organ failure (renal failure, hepatic failure, and heart failure), patients using a pacemaker and those suffering from hemophilia or similar conditions.

Relative contraindications: acute infection, using anticoagulants, severe chronic disease (such as heart diseases), pregnancy, puerperium, menstruation, anemia

What should I expect from a cupping session with Jackie?

Each cupping session begins with a full body massage, or you can target areas you would like more relief. Cupping begins with sliding and flash cupping, followed by a closely monitored stationary suction.* The cups are left in place for 5-15 minutes, depending on your body's response to the treatment.

Immediately after removing the cups, soothing balm will applied to the areas of cupping with some light massage. The balm Jackie uses is hand-crafted in small batches, using the best locally-sourced ingredients Los Angeles has to offer. The simple organic mix of shea butter, cacao butter, beeswax, olive oil, almond oil and coconut oil smooths over the fresh cupping marks to relive any irritation to the skin.

Cupping is offered as an add-on service to any bodywork session, with a minimum of 30 minutes massage + 20 minutes cupping. With a 90-minute session, a 60-minute massage is offered + 30 minutes cupping. For the fullest benefits, book a 120-minute session so you can receive a full-body 90-minute massage + 30 minutes cupping.

*Stationary suction is what typically causes the marks on the body to appear. If you would prefer to not have visible marks, running and flash cupping only can be performed. And if there are certain parts of your body you’d prefer to not show marks, please advise Jackie at the start of a session so she can tactfully avoid those areas. 

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