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What Is Cupping

If you ask WebMD, you will get this answer: 

"Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage."


However, we use cupping therapy a little different than most traditional cupping practitioners.


First, we use Baguanfa or Soft Silicone Cups for our cupping instead of fire cupping with glass cups.


Second, we incorporate cupping directly into our massage and move the cups right along with our massage strokes until we find troubled areas where we can focus our cupping therapy. This allows us to leverage the complementary benefits derived from creating a localized vacuum (negative pressure) with the benefits derived from manual tissue manipulation (positive pressure), joint manipulation, and relaxation work. 

Third, we do not usually leave the ubiquitous big round cupping marks that most practitioners leave (unless it is necessary or you want that type of cupping).

Fourth, Just as there are different levels of manual pressure in massage therapy, there are also different levels of vacuum or negative pressure used in Massage Cupping Therapy from very light to very “heavy”. We only use the pressure that we feel that your body needs in that specific area and we are constantly monitoring the pressure for effectiveness and comfort.

Joe Lavin Touch Factor Massage - Cupping

Benefits of Cupping Therapy

The benefits of cupping therapy are widely debated, so we will leave that to "them" to debate and hopefully eventually prove. Personally, we believe that the vacuum created by the suction effect of the cups increases blood and lymphatic circulation systemically and locally, relaxes muscle and connective tissue, draws out “stagnation”, pathogenic factors and toxins from the tissues, and releases a myriad of pain-causing factors…and that is in addition to the physiological and relaxation benefits of our Deep Lomi massage.

Cupping is also a great form of self-care and it is very easy to do. However, it is a good idea to talk to your healthcare practitioner as well as a qualified cupping practitioner to establish a self-care cupping protocol before you start placing these all over your body. When you are ready, here is a link to the cups that we like on Amazon because of the quality of the silicone and ease of use.


Baguanfa Silicone Cups

The Baguanfa Silicone Cups come in many different sizes and they easily change shape; making for an amazing array of places these cups can fit and be used on the body. The Baguanfa silicone cups are much more supple than other silicone cups and are therefore easier to manipulate. Places that traditional cups are difficult or impossible to be used on like the elbows, knees, scapulae, hands, feet, abdominals, shoulders, spine, etc., etc., etc. are accessible with these cups.

Bony prominences are no longer off-limits to these movable, flexible cups. The flexibility of these cups makes them the best choice (for us) in our deep tissue massage, myofascial release, and dynamic cupping during joint manipulations and in our Deep Lomi applications. Their transparency also allows us to see the actual work that we are doing unlike some of the other opaque soft cups available today.

If you would like to learn more about cupping or include it in your next session, just let us know when you come in. We also offer classes on cupping for therapists and non-therapists (it is great for athletes or for helping with some chronic conditions!).