How Cupping Therapy Can Relieve Pain and Dysfunction

March 21, 2016
Ryan Barichello

What is Cupping Therapy, And What Are Its Benefits?


Cupping, or “Vacuum” Therapy, employs the use of suction cups which are applied to the skin and superficial muscle layer that is lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage — rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. Cupping Therapy can be used to treat a myriad of issues that may arise all over the body. One special focus is the head, neck and face, as these are often areas of pain and dysfunction.


“Vacuum therapies provide a wonderful approach to lymphatic liquefaction and drainage, as well as soft tissue release,” writes Anita Shannon, L.M.T., and 2011 World Massage Festival Massage Therapy Hall of Fame inductee, adding that liquefaction is the process of turning something into liquid, and congestion of the face and body can be areas of thickened lymph, which blocks drainage and creates more congestion.


“As congestion builds, the body’s drainage and filtration system is overwhelmed and slows down, and this dense layer of thickened lymph blocks the elimination of deep inflammation via the blood vessels in the skin,” she writes. “Vacuum therapy lifts and separates the layers of the skin and underlying tissue to enable movement of the congestion, and liquefaction can be achieved if deeper heat is brought to the skin surface.”


And that, of course, is only one of the many benefits Cupping Therapy can offer your massage clients.


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