Cupping is an ancient Chinese medicine practice to help stimulate blood circulation. One aspect of the therapy is that you do get some bruising. You’ll probably see some redness develop from the cups and that’s just as the cups are drawing blood to the surface. You would experience a little bit of bruising but it’s not painful at all. Cupping Therapy is actually very relaxing and is much like a deep tissue massage.
During a cupping therapy in Edina, MN, the practitioner will first apply a little bit of oil to the area of treatment. She usually will use Chinese medicated oil to bring the blood flow to the surface and relax the muscles before she places the cups on the treatment area. The oil can also assist in a method called sliding cupping where the cups are placed on the surface and the practitioner slides them along the treatment area. The practitioner soaks a cotton ball in alcohol and light it on fire. The fire is used to remove the oxygen from the cup, which creates a suction to the skin. To treat back pain, the practitioner starts with the upper back, immediately applying the cups on the skin as soon as she exposes the fire inside the cup. The force of the suction draws the skin and muscle into the cup. The practitioner uses a few or several cups depending on the extent and severity of the condition.
She may perform the sliding cupping technique using the oil that was placed earlier or she can just leave the cup stationary. In the sliding cupping technique, the practitioner slides the cups along the body surface and a little bit of redness begins to appear. The redness is a good sign since it means that the blood is coming to the surface. The process should really feel relaxing as it’s kind of like a deep tissue massage. After five minutes or so, the cups are removed from the body.
A heat lamp is also used as part of the therapy to help relax the muscles and relieve any inflammation and tension.