What The Cup?
You might be thinking to yourself, what the cup is cupping? I’ll be honest, when the Cupping Studio Portland first reached out to me for a collaboration I wasn’t sure what to expect. It looked kind of scary and I wasn’t sure what the marks it left on your body meant. While cupping has become “mainstream” due to celebrities and professional athletes, this practice is an ancient Chinese medicine that dates back over 3,000 years.
“The old Chinese medical maxim holds that pain results from the congestion, stagnation, and blockage of Qi, or vital energy, vital fluids, lymph, phlegm, and blood. If pain is the essence of disease, then suffering is a result of obstructed or irregular flow in the body. Chinese cupping is therefore a method of breaking up the blockage to restore the body’s natural flow of energy (Pacific College of Oriental Medicine).”
That’s Going to Leave a Mark…
The marks that are left after cupping look like bruises, but they actually aren’t. In fact they are the opposite. Bruises are created by impact trauma with compressed breakage of capillaries and a reactionary rush of fluids to the damaged location from the tissue injury (CuppingTherapy.Org). In cupping, there is no compression, but rather your skin and its multiple layers underneath are being pulled up. I received a fire cupping treatment during my visit. When the hot cup is placed on the skin, the air inside the cup cools and creates a vacuum that draws the skin and muscle upward into the cup. Your skin may turn red as the blood vessels respond to the change in pressure.
The darker the spots after cupping have a significance – they mean more stagnation. Michelle, the owner of Cupping Studio Portland explains, “It typically means that you have more tension in those areas or more ‘stagnation’ in the body. When we see darker marks we typically try to do some additional cupping in that area because it’s an area of need.”
It was Cupping Great!
Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This can relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow. People use cupping to complement their care for a wide variety of conditions. It’s interesting to note that the cupping practice goes hand-in-hand with acupuncture. This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common sicknesses that cupping is used to relieve!
While I had some soreness for the next few days, I also felt stress-free after the experience. In addition to my cupping, I received treatment for my TMJ, which I am planning a trip back to the studio for another session. After a year of suffering tight jaw muscles and clenching, I finally felt like I was able to relax after my TMJ treatment. Massage therapist Chelsea worked her magic inside of my mouth! I never have received a massage orally – but if you suffer from TMJ or clenching I highly recommend it.
My husband got the fire cupping treatment as well, and he is already planning his next trip back. As someone who works out a lot, he found this extremely therapeutic. To him it felt like a month long detox occurred in 15 minutes, and he had some of the best workout progression in the gym that he has had in over a year.
The studio was super cute and was located in a larger Healing Center called Zen Space. The staff was really nice and make you feel right at home. I was really relaxed during my massage and cupping. My back feels incredibly looser. Anything that can help blood circulation or pain without ingesting any medicine is wonderful in my opinion. I feel like cupping will be great in the winter time since we are generally less active. Either way, I can’t wait to go back and try different body parts, as well as get more TMJ treatments!
Thanks for such an awesome experience Cupping Studio Portland, we can’t wait to go back!