TRADITIONAL CUPPING THERAPY KALISPELL, MT
This article is part two of our series on Traditional Cupping Methods. In our first article, in our own reverse-engineered way, we essentially spoke about what cupping is not. We wanted to share that there is more to this time-tested treatment method than "place cups on the body and wait until the skin turns purple."
CUPPING: CHRONIC PAIN, MUSCLE TENSION, & SOFT TISSUE INJURIES
Typically the go-to treatment method for pain and muscle tension is to seek a deep tissue massage from your local massage therapist. If you find a good massage therapist, they will work out the knots and send you home feeling better, and hopefully, that feeling last longer than a couple of weeks. Have you tried cupping yet? Many massage therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists are offering these treatments today to provide pain relief for tight muscles. Did you know that there is more to cupping than what these other providers can offer?
CUPPING & CHINESE MEDICINE
One benefit of Cupping Therapy is that it promotes blood circulation and improves blood flow. Increased circulation is one reason it is excellent for chronic pain. When you get a cupping treatment from an acupuncturist trained in Traditional Chinese medicine, there is potential for so many more benefits, including longer-lasting results. There are different ways to do cupping, and the methods and tools chosen depend on what is going on in your body. A well-trained acupuncturist will diagnose to understand, then proceed accordingly.
CUPPING THERAPY at JING SHEN HEALING ARTS
At Jing Shen Healing Arts, we use a traditional approach to cupping called Fire Cupping. Fire cupping involves using a flame placed within a glass cup, heating the inside of the cup to create a vacuum within the glass bulb. The warmed cup is placed directly on the skin over the area that needs to be cupped, causing the glass to seal over the skin.
Our practitioners like to practice our medicine authentically. Admittedly the fire in the cups looks like a cool party trick; however, fire cupping allows us to do things with glass cups that you cannot do with plastic or silicone cups. The results can be amazing when included as part of a customized treatment plan and used in conjunction with acupuncture, herbs, or other available services!
CUPPING vs. MASSAGE THERAPY
Our own Dr. James studied massage therapy and was a licensed massage therapist prior to becoming an acupuncturist. He operated a massage therapy clinic in Florida for 15 years and can speak to this through his professional lens. He describes this work to clients/patients as "a reverse massage" often recommending cupping over a deep tissue massage. One of his favorite techniques in the massage therapy realm was hot stone massage but even today he chooses cupping for himself over hot stone massage for his own recovery.
GETTING THE KNOTS OUT
When receiving a therapeutic massage, the goal is to release muscular tension and tension layers of fascia by pressing into the tissue. With the muscular and fascial release, there is better blood flow in the muscles, leading to less pain and increased circulation. Circulation is health in the system. Keep in mind that this is an oversimplification.
HOW THE APPROACHES ARE SIMILAR
CUPPING is similar to massage as it helps release tension within the muscles and the fascia. One significant difference is the mechanism by which it works. During a massage, the massage therapist's skill is demonstrated by their ability to manipulate the tissue to get it to release its tension. Most often, this is done with firm pressure or trigger point work which involves pressing into places where the therapist has found "knots" in the muscles. This approach can feel aggressive and sometimes cause some discomfort for the client. Also, this does not do anything for the body to encourage the "knots" to re-form.
CUPPING THERAPY KALISPELL: HOW DOES IT WORK?
Cupping for muscular tension aims to get the tissues to release tension. We accomplish this through the application of cups applied appropriately with the correct amount of pressure (suction). We place the flame inside the glass cups in our fire cupping method to create suction or negative pressure. Once the flame is removed from the cup, the cup is placed onto the skin. This negative pressure or vacuum sensation lifts the muscular and fascial layer, creating space, which allows for increased blood flow to the area/region, thus increasing circulation. i.e., "reverse massage."
HOW LONG DO THE EFFECT LAST?
This is a great question and another reason we recommend cupping over massage. We treat a lot of chronic pain in our office. We have had patients seeking our services as a last resort, tired of the pharmaceutical options, and not ready to buy into the doctors telling them they would just have to live with the pain. Patients who had been everywhere, seeing all the doctors and specialists, tried massage, chiropractic, and physical therapy. We have seen these patients become pain-free, and we have been able to graduate these patients from care. FULL DISCLOSURE: These cases usually involve a combination of treatment options that include acupuncture, fire cupping, and possibly traditional herbal remedies, but we were able to restore normal function and get them back to living a normal life again.
TYPICAL PATIENT EXPERIENCE
Cupping is typically a pretty comfortable experience for the patients when done correctly. Most of our acupuncture patients love the feeling of being cupped and describe the initial sensation as a mild suction, definitely not uncomfortable. If a patient describes even mild discomfort, then your practitioner should be able to adjust the amount of suction in the cup. That is part of the skill. If you have had it done in the past and it was painful, we would argue that this speaks more to poor skill and technique by the practitioner and less about the modality. There is no need to suffer through a session; most of our patients look forward to having this done and describe a sense of relaxation during the process.
WHAT ABOUT THE MARKS? ARE THEY BRUISES?
The short answer is no. The marks are not bruising on the skin. In fact, the appearance of the marks is full of diagnostic information for the doctor to assess the body's state of health. Read more here.
CAUTIONS: DON'T BELIEVE ALL OF THE HYPE
With increased interest in alternative medicine, many scientific studies demonstrate Chinese Medicine's effectiveness and health benefits. With modern times comes modern marketing.
AS A DETOX THERAPY
The cups are wonderful, but they are not a detox. They will not remove toxins from your body. They will increase circulation, which may help your body heal and process things better, but that is not a straight line or stand-alone mode to detox.
GETTING RID OF CELLULITE
Again, the cups are wonderful, but they will not eliminate your cellulite. They will increase circulation, which may help your body heal and process things better, but that is not a straight line or stand-alone mode to reduce cellulite.
Our office is located in beautiful Downtown Kalispell MT 59901. Both of our practitioners are Doctors of Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine, bringing a different level of knowledge to the practice. We are well-trained in the traditional cupping styles and all that the art of cupping entails.