Cupping Therapy & Gua Sha
Cupping Therapy and Gua Sha are two different ancient health techniques in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Dry cupping and heated cupping are two techniques available at Man on the Couch. Dry cupping is traditional, whereas heated cupping allows the muscles to relax more quickly, potentially allowing shorter treatment times. Running cupping (i.e. the cup moves along the body area, similar to massage) is available along with stationary cupping. Acupressure is often applied while the cups are in place to enhance longer therapy sessions.
Cupping uses vacuum suction over circular local areas of the body. It brings blood flow to the surface of the skin from a few inches down, much lower than is possible using Western massage techniques. The blood flow from deep down is used to:
- help the body move stagnated blood,
- increase blood circulation to a particular muscular, bone and skin area,
- relieve pain,
- heal injuries,
- ease tightness,
- aid skin detoxification,
- reduce muscular and bone pain,
- disperse internal heat,
- aid lymphatic flow,
- enhance cellular skin structure after injury, physical activity, and age (such as cellulite, wrinkles, stretch marks and scars).
Stationary cups of glass are traditionally placed upside down on the skin after wafting a flame under the rim to create a vacuum. The cups are placed along acupressure lines and meridians, usually on the upper and lower back, upper and lower legs, and hands, and left for a period of time. With an oil layer between the skin and the cup rim, there is also the option of gliding the vacuum cups over the skin, which is called 'gliding cupping'. The cups are of different sizes to be appropriate to the size of the area to be treated. After cupping therapy, circles of blood are often left on the skin, as seen in Michael Phelps' Olympic swimming golds' in 2016, and The Rock's and other celebrities' selfies.
In Western spas, more comfort is preferred than the East, and here at Man on the Couch, Steve uses 4 sizes of the latest vacuum suction cups that do not require a flame, but use individual suction pumps. Steve also uses a large electronic cupping device which offers settings for 9 different negative pressure levels (suction), and a customised control of 9 different temperature levels. Cupping is best applied after a hot shower, or hot tub, which are available here at the suite. A small amount of essential oil is used to to facilitate smooth, gliding movements, and plain flour or talcum powder are used on oily, hairy or sweaty skin to aid stationary cupping.
Traditional Chinese Medicine's Gua Sha Therapy uses hot and cold Jade Stone and/or shaped bamboo canes on the face, back, stomach or legs to soothe and relieve muscle pains, reduce inflammation and activate acupoints using a scraping motion technique. Overall health is improved by removing the energy blockages that Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners identify as barriers to the flow of healthy energy (Qi). The scraping and deep pressure are applied using specifically shaped jade stone.which when cooled, lifts, de-puffs, and tightens facial skin, aswell as easing tension across the body's energy lines. Heated jade stone relaxes the muscles for easing muscular pain.
By creating heat, suction and negative pressure, cupping and gua sha are used to help:
- Loosen scar tissue - helps to increase circulation and break up dense tissue
- Relax connective tissue - releasing tensions held in connective muscle tissue
- Increase hydration and blood flow - allowing a easier movement in joints
- Drain toxins and metabolic waste - detoxification occurs through the skin, similar to sauna heat, and.by opening lymphatic drainage pathways, and removal of lactic acid build up in muscle fibres
- Relax chronically tight muscles - releasing stress and muscular tension
- Body contouring - tightening wrinkled and loose skin, and reducing cellulite, by rejuvenating skin renewal
- Skin-perfecting - reducing spider veins, stretch marks and scars, acne, hives, urticaria and eczema
- Sedate the nervous system - making it excellent for reducing high blood pressure, anxiety, migraines, depression, insomnia and rheumatism, arthritis, fibromyalgia
- Improved digestive metabolism and relief from constipation