Wednesday, 2 November 2011

One Cup Or Two?

I have regular acupuncture and every time I see my practitioner I hope she leaves enough time at the end to give me some cupping!  Gwyneth Paltrow brought cupping into the public eye when she strutted down the red carpet with obvious pinky circles on her back a few years ago.

Cupping is like a very deep massage, deeper than a masseuse can go.  Quite simply cupping brings fresh blood and oxygen to the surface, improves circulation and helps to break down tension and congestion of the tissues.  I love having cupping on my back and lower neck to release tension from sitting at a desk and concentrating on studies or work.

Cupping has been practised in China since the 4th century, originally using bamboo or horn cups.  Luckily today we have glass cups with rounded smooth edges that, I should imagine, feel much more pleasant on the skin! There are two types of cupping; fire cupping or suction cupping.  Fire cupping is when a flame is used to remove the oxygen from the cup and also heat the cup slightly immediately before putting onto the skin.  Removing the oxygen creates the vacuum.  Suction cupping when there is a small pump connected to the cup to enable the practitioner to suction to the right level for the patient and then remove the pump leaving the cup in place.  Both techniques work fantastically.

The cups may be moved up and down on the skin or left in one place, depending on what is needed.  There are acupuncture points on the back that are very nourishing to all the internal organs so this could determine where the cups are placed.  Cupping is great for anyone with a cold, trying to shift mucus and tightness in the chest, as long as you aren't feeling too weak.  As I mentioned earlier in the week, it is all about balance and cupping is another technique to help bring calmness back to frustrated areas of the body that are depleted or not working optimally.  By increasing the blood supply and waking up the tissues we are again signalling to the body to go to this place and work its magic in healing and restoring health.

Just a warning, you will more than likely be left with reddish circles from the cups as this is an indication of the congestion of the tissues underneath, so make sure you won't be wearing a backless party dress the next day!..

Zen Dog

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