My Cupping Experience

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.

My thoughts

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!

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16 Comments

  1. May 16, 2017 / 5:41 am

    I also hate baths – ewwww and I’m not sure I would try this but I’m glad you wrote about the experience first hand and honestly. It’s always interesting to see what new trends will pop up and if they are worth doing!
    Allie recently posted…The Rundown – Allergic ReactionsMy Profile

  2. May 16, 2017 / 9:43 am

    Thanks so much for this post! I’ve always wondered what cupping was like.

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 16, 2017 / 3:47 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  3. May 16, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Cupping and massage are two of my fav wellness practices. I prefer the TCM method with glass bulb thingys (whatever they’re called) – they’re much less pinchy – especially on the ol’ IT bands. <– so painful
    Jo @ Living Mint Green recently posted…A fun surpriseMy Profile

  4. May 16, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Hi Erin! I am a BIG believer in Eastern Medicine and have been going to acupuncture regularly for 2 years. I did get cupped before and my bruises/marks were a terrible deep purple. They didn’t hurt, but they sure did scare my husband who was scared to touch me for days hehehe! It’s SUCH a great process — so healing — so cleansing! I LOVE it!
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…Wedding weekend in San Diego and my weekly workoutsMy Profile

  5. May 16, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I haven’t had traditional cupping where cups are left in one place for a period of time, but my RMT uses them in conjunction with massage to help release the fascia with the negative pressure of suction. She’ll move the cups around with suction, which doesn’t always feel awesome (ha!) but works really well.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Packing for Ragnar with ReebokMy Profile

  6. May 16, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    I’ve definitely always wondered about cupping. The bruises look horrendous! Even though the actual procedure didn’t hurt, do the bruises feel tender? Especially those really dark ones by your shoulders and under your arms? Very interesting to learn about, and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on your second time!
    Ellyn @ In Fitness and In Health recently posted…12-Minute Abs On Fire WorkoutMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 16, 2017 / 3:47 pm

      Check at places that also do acupuncture!

  7. May 16, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    Good to know it doesn’t hurt because it sure looks like it does. I might need to give this a try later on.

  8. Mudita
    May 17, 2017 / 10:41 am

    Glad it wasn’t painful for you. When I tried it, the bruises it left were sore and tender to the touch. I guess each person responds differently!

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 17, 2017 / 11:29 am

      Yeah I tried poking them and they didn’t feel bruised at all

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