Fire and Vacuum Cupping.
Fire cupping is used with glass cups and a fire wand. Vacuum cupping is used with plastic cups and a cupping gun (pump). Glass cupping uses heat and therefore creates a vasodilatory effect on the body creating a better vascular supply to the cupping site – this is the main difference between the cupping types.
Cupping has origins in ancient Chinese medicine where it has been used to not only treat musculoskeletal pain, but also a wide range of ailments and illnesses.
Cupping is designed to mainly reduce pain, and detoxify the tissue in which it is applied to. The detoxification occurs through increasing the vascular and lymph supply to the area being treated. This enhanced circulation of blood and lymph helps restore homeostasis in the tissues being treated creating a healthier environment for the tissue to thrive – reduced pain, reduced inflammation, stronger blood and lymph supply and an increase in the removal and metabolism of waste products in the area and areas around the cupping sites.
This treatment is used almost every session as we believe it is very effective.
Cupping will often leave clients with bruises (superficial) on the skin ranging from no colour changes, to dark purple – each bruise telling a story of the tissue below. The colours and patterns created by the cups indicate the health of the tissue.
A grey / no colour change suggests poor tissue health and ‘life force’ of the tissue, whereas solid red cupping marks suggest health tissue and great ‘life force’.
The bruises usually last from 3 days – 14 days depending on the tissue health, skin type, and the duration and pressure of the cupping treatment. In Chinese medicine, the bruising is referred to as ‘stagnation’ – the darker the bruise, the more stagnated the tissue and vice versa.
Ben’s personal theory of how cupping achieves the results it does is through a basic physics, mechanical, and Barometric explanation.
The fire or vacuum mechanism creates a negative (low) atmospheric pressure inside the cup – this encourages air to rush into the cup to stabilise the ‘atmosphere’ within the cup. In doing so, this creates a vacuum within the cup and when sealed by the skin, the vacuum creates a tight pull on the skin around the cup lip. This pressure pulls the skin into the cup creating a compressed area of skin around the cup lip, and a decompressed area of skin within the cup.
This decompressed skin should then allow for greater blood vessel expansion as the skin lifted will take pressure off the blood vessels. Greater expansion of blood vessels will allow for a wider circumference of the blood vessel and hence more blood flow. More blood flow results in healthier tissue which works to restore homeostasis within the tissue, and increase the tissue’s ability to heal.