We have had the great pleasure to meet two amazing Doctors, specializing in Naturopathy. Their speciality is everything which can benefit the body, without causing harm. They are performing fantastic case studies on how cupping benefits from infertility to sciatica. They have also written the below article on what is cupping and why you should try it,. Give it a read, you owe it to yourself!
What is Cupping By Dr S Amann and Dr C Van Niekerk
Cupping might be the single most effective physical treatment discovered. But before we explain why. What is cupping?
It is a physical therapy that makes use of negative pressure or a vacuum produced by the suction of cups. Now there are different methods of cupping; wet cupping dry cupping and Bellabaci Massage Therapy.
- Wet cupping involves making a small incision in the skin and placing a cup over this incision. This draws out stagnant blood along with toxins.
- Dry cupping does not involve any incisions or blood. Cups are placed on the skin either stationary or they can be moved around to drain lymph or to produce a deep tissue massage similar to a Swedish Massage. The intensity of the suction produced by the cups is controlled by the practitioner and type of cup used.
- Bellabaci Massage Therapy is a new method that makes use of the same principles that traditional cupping does, negative pressure. There are a few differences though. Bellabaci has cleverly developed and trademarked medical grade silicone cups which are gently squeezed and used to perform light, medium and strong placement suction as well as to combine suction with movement. This therapy avoids the use of external heat and risk associated with traditional cupping, (Bellabaci, 2017).
*Traditional wet and dry cupping should only be performed by a qualified therapist.
But what are cups exactly?
There is a variety of different cups. Ranging from bamboo to glass to plastic in various sizes. More recently we are able to make use of medical grade silicone cups (No bacteria can grow on medical grade silicone) which are safer as they gently mould to your body which allows for a comfortable and therapeutic experience.
Stationary Cupping Vs Massage Cupping.
- Stationary cupping involves placing cups on specific points on the body. For example, placing them on trigger points in the case of muscle spasms, or on meridian points, (energy pathways in our bodies) to open any Qi, (energy) blockages. Cups are generally left on from 30 sec-30 minutes during stationary cupping depending on the intensity.
- Massage cupping works by placing the cups and then moving them in a specific way. This lifts tissue and allows fresh oxygenated blood to flow into the area. This method works extremely well to drain lymphatic fluid. A massage cupping session generally lasts from 15 minutes to 1 hour depending on the area of body being worked on.
- Bellabaci Massage Therapy works by combining the principles of both stationary and movement techniques.
But what are those marks/bruises?
After the world saw these “bruises”on Michael Phelps at the 2016 Olympic games, the world wanted to know what he was doing? Was this his gold medal secret? Maybe…
However these marks are NOT bruises, as there is no exterior trauma to the site. Bellabaci has beautifully named these marks “Cup Kisses“. These kisses are caused by the vacuum created by the cups, which draw up flesh blood to the site to remove stagnation and toxin build-up. These marks may last anywhere from 2 to 10 days.
It is important to note that not all cupping treatments will give you a cup kiss. Factors such as intensity, duration and the extent of stagnation or amount of toxins, all determine if a mark will be left. A good practitioner will inform you of the likelihood of a cup kiss and should you prefer not to be left with a cup kiss a light session will follow.
How Cupping Heals.
Cupping and Bellabaci Massage Therapy produces negative pressure. This suction draws fresh oxygenated blood into the local area along with inflammatory cells (our white blood cells). This influx of fresh blood oxygenates stagnant tissues, which helps to remove metabolic waste and acids. Our inflammatory cells (specifically neutrophils and leukocytes) remove cellular waste and toxins that have built up in the stagnant tissue.
How can you benefit from these techniques?
Are caused by a prolonged contraction in the head and neck muscles which are often caused by stress. This causes the pain you feel as a headache. Cupping and Bellabaci therapy works excellently in relieving the tension causing your headaches.
Cupping and Bellabaci can also be used to treat patients with nonspecific neck pain for the same reason it is used to treat headaches. Through immediately relieving tense muscles of the head and neck and allowing fresh blood to flow through these tissues. A randomised controlled pilot study concluded that after a series of 5 dry cupping treatments, cupping was effective in relieving chronic non-specific neck pain, (Romy LaucheEmail author, 2011).
Lactic Acid Build Up
Many athletes are hampered by stiff and sore muscles as they tend to limit mobility and function. Stiff muscles pose a serious risk of injury. Through Cupping or Bellabaci the practitioner can relieve tension and break down the hardened tissue, as well as to give stiff and sore muscles a deep tissue massage to remove lactic acid, alkalizing the body and accelerating the healing process. Cupping is arguably to date the best deep tissue massage, (Piyush Mehta, 2015).
Our bodies function optimally when Qi, (energy) flows unimpeded through us. Meridian channels recognised by the Chinese are defined energy pathways through which life force flows. When these channels become blocked by imbalance such as suppressed emotions, or stress, manifestations of these blockages present themselves, such as depression, eating disorders or feeling tired all the time.
Cupping works magnificently to restore balance and remove any energy imbalances. From “the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine” Qi, (energy) “It is the quality attribute that determines the state of one’s health and life span” (Piyush Mehta, 2015). Through practices like yoga, mindfulness and cupping we support the flow of Qi. This is key to true health and allows us to express ourselves in a healthy manner, a factor which plays a critical role in leading a happy vibrant purpose driven life. If you show signs of energy stagnation such as depression or persistent fatigue, or if you are battling with emotional eating try the restorative properties of cupping. Acupuncture done by a trained professional is another great therapy for treating energy imbalance.
Negative pressure improves micro-circulation by stimulating blood flow. Poor circulation is the main cause of cellulite. Cellulite appears because connective tissue holds the skin close to underlying muscle while fat cells accumulate between the skin and underlying muscle. Through improving circulation and breaking down these fibrous strands causing “lumps” cupping and Bellabaci treats cellulite.
It is important to have realistic expectations when you are treating cellulite. Treatment will immediately start improving the circulation, however prolonged treatment may be required to treat later stages of cellulite, (find out about the stages at Bellabaci).
Have you ever experienced a stinging/tingling lower back pain that runs through your hip and buttock, sometimes down one leg? This condition is called Sciatica. Commonly caused by pressure from the Piriformis muscle situated deep in the buttock on the Sciatic Nerve, (David T. Derrer, 2016).
When this little muscle goes into spasm or becomes inflamed it often causes this relentless pain. Cupping and Bellabaci Therapy works marvelously to lift the muscle taking pressure of the nerve and triggering our bodies natural inflammatory response to clear the inflammation.
It is extremely important to note that Sciatica can also be caused by serious conditions such as a herniated disk. Which is contraindicated in cupping. If you suffer from chronic Sciatica consult a Medical Doctor to diagnose and approve cupping therapy.
Patients suffering from fluid build up or Oedema will be happy to hear that the “’suction action” is a simple solution to help remove excess fluid. Whether the fluid is caused by pregnancy or lack of lymphatic drainage. By applying the cups to the ankle and moving it towards the body while the patient is lying down the practitioner can manually drain lymph up to the lymph nodes, which are like filters for our lymph. At the nodes toxins and cancerous cells are filtered out, thus indirectly making cupping a great detoxification and cancer preventative treatment.
Experience the anti-aging benefits of Bellabaci Therapy that’ll put a smile on your dial! Due to the improvement on micro-circulation which increases collagen formation in the skin, (i.e. less wrinkles) drainage of excess fluid, (goodbye puffy skin and eyes) and the removal of fibrous connective tissue, (hello smooth glowing skin) facial cupping is quickly gaining traction across the globe in the beauty industry.
Celebrities like Kim Kardashian have turned to facial cupping to bring radiant beauty back to their skin. Don’t believe me read this E News article on “What Is Facial Cupping & Why Does Kim Kardashian Do It?”
Can’t move to California and go to Kim’s therapist. You can easily practice facial cupping safely on yourself, at home, using Bellabaci’s specially developed facial cups, (find them here).
I hope you found this article informative. It is important to note that Cupping should only be done by a qualified practitioner.
Bellabaci massage therapy making use of silicone cups are generally considered safe. We found their cups and products of the utmost highest quality and have been practicing their methods with great success.
We hope this has helped to shed some light on different cupping and cupping based massage techniques. Let us know if you give it a try and how it has helped you!
For more information please feel free to contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay Healthy and Well.
Bellabaci. (2017). Bellabaci Training Manual. Bellabaci Training Manual.
Bhikha, R. (2000). Tibb Traditional Roots of Medicine in Modern Routes to Health. Gauteng: Mountain of Light South Africa.
David T. Derrer, M. ( 2016). webmd. Retrieved from webmd: https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/ss/slideshow-visual-guide-to-sciatica
Piyush Mehta, V. D. (2015). Cupping therapy: A prudent remedy for a plethora of medical ailments. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 127-134.
Romy LaucheEmail author, H. C.-E. (2011). The influence of a series of five dry cupping treatments on pain and mechanical thresholds in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain – a randomised controlled pilot study. The official journal of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR).