Muscle discomfort can cause problems in all areas of your life. You might find yourself turning down social invitations if they involve too much walking, or maybe your enjoyment of your favourite activities is diminished by constant discomfort.
Instead of turning to over the counter medications for pain relief, you might want to consider alternative forms of therapy. Cupping therapy is an ancient form of Chinese medicine with many benefits. It helps to increase blood circulation, promote relaxation and as a complementary treatment for many common ailments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Cupping therapy has grown in popularity throughout Australia recently, but it comes from an ancient tradition. For over 2,000 years, traditional Chinese medicine has been tweaked and altered to create therapies and treatments for a variety of ailments.
The understanding of the chi (alternatively ‘qi’), or life force, translated literally as “vital breath”, is a core foundation of TCM. The chi flows through the body along 12 pathways known as meridians. Through these meridians, the chi connects your consciousness, organs, cells, atoms and nerves.
TCM techniques like acupuncture and cupping therapy focus around readjusting the chi so that balance returns to the body. Even if you feel healthy, some TCM techniques can help maintain the chi’s flow and keep you feeling fantastic.
What is Cupping Therapy?
Using small hot cups typically made out of glass, bamboo, earthenware or silicon, a practitioner creates suction on your skin to draw out toxins and improve circulation.
Whether you chose the wet or dry method, your practitioner will start by heating the cups up and then placing them directly onto your body. As they cool down, the suction will increase. Usually, the cups remain for between three and ten minutes.
The dry method is more prevalent in Australia, but many practitioners also offer the wet method. After three minutes, the practitioner removes the cups and makes several small incisions with a scalpel. They replace the cups, and the resulting suction draws small amounts of blood out of the incisions.
After removing the cups a second time, the practitioner will treat your wounds with ointment and bandages. Regardless of the method, your skin should return to normal within ten days of receiving the treatment.
If you chose the dry method, your practitioner slides the cups off using massage oil, in a process known as gliding cupping.
If you’re new to cupping therapy, you might begin with three cups. In one session, you will rarely have more than seven cups.
What is Cupping Therapy Used For?
Cupping therapy works as a complementary treatment for many conditions, including migraines, acne, inflammation, stiff muscles, congestion and anxiety or depression.
It can also serve as a maintenance method. Regular cupping keeps the chi free-flowing and removes congestion before it can cause discomfort.
It’s also often used as additional pain relief for chronic sufferers. The suction balances the chi and draws out toxins, which can help to improve these conditions.
How Can Cupping Therapy Help With Pain Relief?
Stiff muscles are sometimes a result of a blocked or congested chi. For the chi to move freely, the blockage must dissipate.
Following the meridians laid by traditional Chinese medicine, your practitioner will place the cups near the problem areas.
As the cups cool down, the suction will pull the skin away from the muscles, increasing blood flow and disrupting the blockage. Once the chi can move freely again, the discomfort should decrease.
What is Cupping Therapy’s Effect on Athletes?
Many Olympians have used cupping therapy, including Michael Phelps, members of Team USA Gymnastics, DeMarcus Ware and Natalie Coughlin.
These world-class athletes use cupping to allow their muscles to heal faster and assist in pain relief, meaning they can compete night after night without worry.
Improved circulation helps to minimise muscle discomfort and allows your chi to travel the meridians freely. If you are an athlete who experiences discomfort after training, consider a cupping treatment.
You might find yourself able to train harder and longer with cupping, allowing you to push your limits and achieve new personal records.
Are There Any Side-Effects?
Although cupping therapy is considered generally safe, you might experience a few side effects during or right after your treatment.
During your treatment, you might feel nausea or discomfort. Immediately after, you might feel light-headed or dizzy. However, this should subside quickly.
You might also notice discolouration of your skin from the cups, which can last up to ten days. Additionally, some patients develop bruises, which should disappear shortly.
If you take blood thinners, it’s best to avoid cupping therapy. If you have any chronic diseases, you should inform your practitioner before beginning treatment, and consult with your GP about how cupping could interact with any medications you currently take.
Why Choose Wayne Massage?
Wayne Massage has served the Sydney area since 2009. Wayne Zheng combines Western and Traditional treatments to create a technique that helps patients find healing.
The team has grown to include many qualified massage therapists with training in a variety of techniques, including dry needling, deep tissue massage, reflexology and cupping therapy.
Our clients include people of all walks of life, including several celebrities and successful business people.
Make An Appointment
If you suffer from muscle discomfort, acne, migraines or other medical issues, contact any of our branches in the Sydney area.