Cupping involves the application of suction cups to the skin of the back, arms, and/or legs. We typically recommend cupping for tight or painful muscles, but the technique can also be used for upper respiratory conditions and detoxification. There are two different forms of cupping we use in our office: fire and vacuum. In each, we create a negative pressure inside the cup that, when applied to the skin, will pull the superficial tissue layers away from the underlying muscle and fascia - essentially, a “reverse massage.” This separation creates space for blood flow which will promote the loosening of muscle and soft tissue.
The cups remain applied for about 15-20 minutes. When removed there will occasionally be red or purple marks (clinically referred to as petechiae) left behind on the skin. This happens when small blood capillaries break near the surface of the skin. It is not painful like a bruise and should fade within about a week. During this time we recommend keeping the area(s) protected from wind and sun exposure until the tissue heals.
GuaSha is a Chinese medical massage technique performed with a tool with a smooth, curved edge. The practitioner applies a lubricant (oil, balm, or lineament) to the skin and uses a repetitive, unidirectional scraping action to loosen up tight or painful musculature and/or soft tissue. This results in releasing myofascial trigger points (or muscle knots).
This technique can sometimes result in red or purple petechiae marks left behind on the skin - this typically happens at/around particularly tight musculature. It is not painful like a bruise and should fade within about a week. During this time we recommend keeping the area(s) protected from wind and sun exposure until the tissue heals.
Cupping and GuaSha are each available as their own stand-alone treatments, or in addition to an acupuncture session.