Last week I tried cupping and this week I’m telling you all about it. 🙂
As I search for ways to slow down and work my schedule into something a little more manageable, I’ve felt pulled to widen my wellness experiences.
I’m a big believer that I can’t really talk about something or give my opinion unless I’ve tried it. That was certainly a philosophy that got me into trouble during my using days as I decided I couldn’t possibly stop until I had tried all the drugs there were to try. Pro tip: not advised.
ANYHOO, I haven’t tried a lot of Eastern medicine, but I felt a pull to try any and all opportunities available to me as forms of self-care. One of my training clients had cupping done and raved about how much it helped her, so I decided that’s what I wanted to try first.
What is cupping?
Cupping is the practice of placing cups over areas of the body and removing the air through suction. This draws the tissue into the cups which then allows the magic to happen.
The purpose of cupping is to improve circulation, pull toxins to the surface, and help relieve pain. As the skin is pulled up, any toxins or lactic acid that may be in the underlying muscle and tissue are brought to the surface. Bringing them closer to the surface allows them to be introduced to the circulatory system easier and thereby removed from the body quicker. The release of suction also allows an influx of water to the area which acts as a flush of those toxins.
How is cupping done?
Older cupping methods involve using glass cups and fire to create the suction, but more modern versions involve plastic cups and pump suction which results in more control.
Cups are left on anywhere from 5-20 minutes, and because it was my first time, she didn’t leave them on too long. We started out with a first pass of cups that didn’t result in much discoloration.
When she returned to see the results, she also moved the cups around to try different spots. During our initial consultation where I asked her 12324567 questions, she informed me that many people develop darker spots under the arms because that’s where many lymph nodes are and people tend to stagnate circulation in that area.
As you can see below, the second set of cups is starting to turn darker than the first.
Following the removal of the cups, my back felt great. It felt like a pressure had been released and my back felt looser. We discovered that I tend to stagnate around my shoulder blades and under the arms as expected.
This made sense to me because those are the areas that I tend to injure the most and if you remember, hurt my back pretty significantly there last year.
What to do after cupping
I was advised to drink lots of water and take a bath with Epsom salts. I thought I had some at home, but it turns out I didn’t, so I just made sure to drink a lot of water to help flush everything out of my system. Plus I hate baths. Gross.
The bruises can last anywhere from days to weeks based on the degree of color. Once they have normalized, it’s advised that the procedure is repeated a couple times to make sure everything is drawn out.
I definitely enjoyed the experience. I’m notoriously sore always, so the suction felt good as it pulled my muscles and then released them. It was interesting to see where my bruising patterns were and when I go back again I want to see how they look after this first experience.
It didn’t hurt. This was a question I got a lot and there was no pain whatsoever. The pictures aren’t the most attractive, but I swear it felt good and relaxing. 🙂
Because I didn’t go in with a specific malady or injury, it’s hard for me to say whether it had significant effects. I enjoyed it and did like how my muscles responded, but I’d be interested to see my experience in treating an injury (which I’m sure will happen again at some point in life). I’d definitely recommend it to anyone suffering from an injury or just looking for a new approach to an old problem.
If you’re in the Chicago area and are interested in getting cupping done, I worked with Jennifer Dubowsky in River North. As a bonus for you guys, she is offering $10 off your first cupping session from June 1 — July 31. Her address will be at 815 W Superior. Check out her website for contact info!