Ways to Harmony

Cupping Massage

Cupping Massage is a powerful technique used for breaking up localized congestion, increasing circulation and improving the health and well-being of the body. This process uses the power of suction to draw blood to the area that is experiencing pain, and supply nutrients for healing. Cupping Massage has been used extensively in Chinese medicine for several thousand years.
If you suffer from back pain, neck pain, or any type of chronic pain, cupping therapy can be a beneficial treatment method. In most cases, the process is not painful, and can be completed in a short time frame. In addition to relieving pain, suction cupping massage can relieve inflammation and cramps.
There are two main cupping techniques: stationary and moving.
Stationary cups are placed on the skin and left for a period of 5 to 15 minutes in one location, or four to six cups may be applied and removed cyclically in a technique called "flash cupping." These are the methods most commonly used in Chinese medicine.
Moving (or "massage cupping") is the more commonly used technique. Prior to applying the cup, oil is administered to the skin to facilitate smooth movement and palpably discover the areas of tension and congestion. Create the vacuum and place the cup on the affected area, then glide it over the surface. A cup may be "parked" for a short time on stubborn knots or over inflamed joints or tissue. Cupping can be used on the neck, shoulders, back, sacral area, hip, abdomen, thigh, upper arms and calves.
The sensation of cupping is often characterized as deep warmth and tingling, long after the treatment has ended. Cupping is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out yet does not add to it. 
Massage cupping is often used on the broad areas of the back, which is a wonderful addition to any massage. The treatment is sedating, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. (A deep snore is common!) Larger cups may be used on the back; the strong vacuum will mimic the rolling action of deep tissue massage without the discomfort. The movement may be long and draining, or circular and stimulating, for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue.
The skin will redden with strong massage cupping, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface. Application of liniments, analgesics, plant hydrosols or essential oils immediately following a cupping treatment will aid absorption deep into the tissue. The increased local blood supply will nourish the muscles and skin and allow toxins to be carried away.
Massage cupping is also effective in treating cellulite. A light suction provides drainage, while heavier application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or "dimpling." The thigh and hip region should be treated prior to a wrapping procedure to enhance the absorption of product.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this technique is the subtle nuance of the movements. Creativity provides a variety of methods, and alteration of pressure and speed produces different sensations. For example, the edge of the cup can be used to "scoop" in a cross-fiber movement, while vigorous circles feel marvelous on the hips, thighs and shoulders. Long strokes down the sides of the spine and along the ribs provide ease to rib cage expansion and breathing.
Before I start using the Cups for massage I fill them with Reiki energy which then increases the effectiveness of the cupping massage.

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