Frequently Asked Question

Why does cupping leave marks?

A common misinterpretation of cupping concerns the discoloration that can occur during treatment. Often when pathologic factors and stagnant fluids (toxins, blood and lymph) are dredged up during treatment, discoloration will appear on the skin. This is the therapeutically desired effect – the more this is visible, the greater the level of stagnation and toxicity that has been removed. “Bruising” is caused by impact trauma with breakage of capillaries and reactionary rush of fluids to the damaged area from the tissue compression/injury, and there is no compression in properly employed suction cup therapy, so bruising should not occur. Although it is quite common during stationary Cupping (left static for 5 – 20 minutes) to achieve dramatic marks or discolorations, less aggressive action while moving the cups can minimize the intensity and duration of these marks, and any discoloration should fade over a few days.

As treatments accumulate and the cause of stagnation and buildup has been drained (usually by the 3rd or 4th treatment) no discoloration is likely to occur at all, even though each time the cupping may have been focused on the same area for the same duration and with the same amount of negative pressure. This is the result of having internal unwanted toxins systematically purged. This is helpful in taking pressure off of joints and organs in the body by pulling this fluid and “creating space” for the tissue.

Are cupping bruises painful?

The marks look worst than they really are. Patients usually feel an immediate sense of relief once the cupping is over, some of them immediately when the cup is suctioned on the skin. “Bruising” is caused by impact trauma with breakage of capillaries and reactionary rush of fluids to the damaged area from the tissue compression/injury, and there is no compression in properly employed suction cup therapy, so bruising will be much darker where the stagnation is poor. It basically feels like having a halved tennis ball, or something of the sort, pressed over the skin. If you have severe muscle stress or “knots” in your neck or back, etc, then it will obviously be discomforting the same way as a massage would feel over a back spasm.

How will I feel after the cupping?

Some people feel very sleepy. Others feel energised and invigorated. They talk about working non-stop but we advise against this despite the surge in energy. Cupping especially wet cupping (hijaamah) is a procedure that detoxifies so your body needs rest in order to repair. Do not allow the areas that have been treated to be exposed to the wind, water or cold. Yes water! That’s right, no shower for the rest of the day or up to 24 hours. Try not to eat very heavy meals immediately after the cupping like red meat or dairy products for example because these foods take long to digest. It will use precious energy which should be used in repairing the body rather than to digest a heavy meal. If you are a smoker, please try not to smoke before or after cupping for at a good few hours or cut down considerably… might want to think about cutting down for good actually.

What can I do after the cupping?

Toxins have been brought up to the surface and flushed out via the body’s own circulatory systems and expulsion from the pores. Sweating is a great after treatment follow up to help get rid of the toxins you’ve released.
For four to six hours following a treatment you should avoid any strenuous activity, cold weather and unpleasantly hot environments, even having a shower or bath as the cuts will open up. Cupping opens the pores and because of this the absorption of liniments, analgesics, plant hydrosols or essential oils will be aided. Drinking more water than is typically necessary following treatment is helpful for oxygenating cleansed tissues.

Do I have to do wet cupping/blood letting?

No, you don’t have to. We recommend most ‘first-timers’ who are very anxious to do dry cupping first so that they know what the suction feels like. Wet cupping is definitely the top of the range in cupping as it removes congestion of blood, energy or mucus and mobilises blood flow. Cupping helps pull that blood out of the area, making room for fresh, oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to replenish the tissues and accelerate the healing process. Dry cupping is not that efficient but we definitely can not say that it is useless. The vacuum created by the heat is said to dispel dampness from the body, warm the qi (energy) and reduce swelling and improve circulation. Dry cupping or slide cupping can greatly improve for asthma and bowel related illness.

Do the cuts hurt?

Wet cupping depends on your pain threshold as it involves incisions. Tiny pin pricks, sometimes slightly larger incisions are made. If a pin prick is too much for you and you are squeamish at the sight of blood, maybe wet cupping (blood-letting) is not for you. The cuts are barely felt, sometimes it tickles especially if it is done on the lower back,etc. due to the sensitivity of the area of skin. When the cup is put back on and re-sunctioned, the cuts may sting a bit but this does not last very long. A good practioner will not hurt you or leave scars.

Will I faint?

Again this depends on the individual. If you are anaemic, you definitely will faint and should therefore not do cupping. It is normal for some people to feel light-headed, but they usually just sit up for a while, get a glass of water and are ready to walk home or drive home. Those who faint, in my experience, are those who are fatigued, or very very anxious and scared even of the procedure. Some people want to do the cupping ‘properly’, so they don’t eat for as much as 5 hours sometimes more, before the cupping. (It is recommended that the patient not eat anything solid for only 2-3 hours before the cupping is administered). Please keep yourself hydrated, else you will faint.

What are the best cups to use?

In all forms of Cupping Therapy, a vacuum is created no matter what type of cup is used.
What you use is basically your preference. Traditional treatment consists of horn, bamboo, glass or metal cups to create suction or vacuum on the skin. A vacuum is created inside these cups by burning a combustible (like moxa, or alcohol) inside it, then quickly applying the cup to the skin, allowing the force of the vacuum to draw up the underlying tissue. The glass cup is common with this type of method. The cups are thick like little jars almost and very durable so it will not crack or break when the combustible is burnt inside it.

Then there is the plastic suction cup which produce vacuums on the body’s surface by manually withdrawing the air through a suction gun, rather than the traditional way of burning up oxygen. This is more common in usage and also a favourite since they are easy to use and wont simply chip should they fall. They also provide added benefit since some cups may include magnetic “needles” attached to the valve of the cup. Well they are not actual needles but non-penetrating pressure-giving points of both polarities. This gives a balanced magnetic exposure of traditional acupuncture points. The magnetic “needles” (strength generally being 2000 ~ 2500 gauss) apply a continuous, spring-adjusted pressure on the skin attached to the valve.

Virtually indestructible cup yet pliable, the silicone cup is preferred with slide cupping or deep tissue drainage and cellulite treatment. Simply squeeze and apply and suction is created. These cups come in all different sizes and cool colours too.

Does the cellulite treatment really work?

There is basically no guaranteed cure for cellulite to be honest. Cellulite is more genetic than diet-dependant although diet is very important. So slide cupping on the thighs is not a quick fix, just as cellulite cream is. Cellulite, being a complicated esthetic skin condition can not be expected to respond to any simplistic massage measures according to some. However the cup works better than the hand because of the suction. The cupping will not remove fat from your cellulite areas, nor will it tighten sagging skin like miraculously eliminating ‘saddle-bags’.
What it will do, and again this varies from patient to patient, is improve circulation greatly. One treatment will definitely not improve minimisation of cellulite but several regular treatments will. Cupping opens your muscle fascia [tight interwoven fibers] and causes more nutrient-rich and oxygenated blood to circulate through those fibers, which raises your resting metabolic rate and breaks up fatty tissues. For older women cellulite is really tough to minimise. Appearance of cellulite worsens as we age because skin becomes thinner and we lose collagen, which leads to less immune power but more inflammation. Cupping can help but can not place collagen back into the skin.
Plastic surgeons argue that the pressure of a massage therapist is not applied on the cellulite layer in any specific way that will offer appreciable results in cellulite reduction, and therefore most of the benefits of this massage technique are seen on the muscles – ‘cellulite layer’. Naturally not everyone is going to go the plastic surgery route, so regular slide cupping following a certain technique; plenty of water; no smoking; minimum of 20 minutes exercise a day; no caffeine or alcohol and a balanced diet will go a long way. Will you have legs without a tiny spec of cellulite…? That depends on your genes.

What days are best to do cupping?

Dry or massage/slide cupping can be administered anytime but wet cupping (hijaamah) is most effective around the 17th, 19th and 21st days of the lunar month, just about 2 to 3 days after the Full Moon. Some commentators (muhaddith) on the tradition (hadeeth) of the Messenger of God (Muhammad upon whom be the Peace and Blessing of God) explain that on those days the full moon has a gravitational impact on many things on earth. For example, the sea has high tides due to the full moon. Similarly, the flowing of the blood is also affected and flows faster during the full moon. One may loose much blood in these days if one undergoes cupping.

The best time of day to cup is generally considered to be the 3 to 6 hours after sunrise when the blood is at a good flow.

Can I do wet cupping if I am pregnant or after birth or miscarriage?

Wet cupping is not recommended during pregnancy, neither after birth till one has gained strength and stopped post-partum bleeding. With regards to after miscarriage, please see your doctor. The body takes quite a while to heal after this sort of thing.

What happens if something goes wrong while I am receiving cupping treatment? Will the cupping practitioner be held responsible?

We have a form that indemnifies us after we have explained everything you need to know and after evaluating the information you disclose regarding your medical history, physician’s details, etc. You then undertake the cupping at your own risk or choice should I say.

Can I bleed to death if I do wet cupping?

No. We don’t slash you and leave you for dead as a stab-wound victim. Far from it, the bleeding comes from a few tiny pin-prick-like incisions which is localised, meaning you only bleed from where the cup has been suctioned. This is not like getting a cut on your a part of your body where the bleeding is from the mainstream. Also, the amount of blood varies from person to person. I find that heavy smokers who are not on blood thinning medication barely bleed as do extremely frightened people. Others bleed more than a few teaspoons but it is never litres!

What do you do with the blood?

We don’t keep it for ‘The Cullens’ nor do we just leave it on the rubbish pile. It is buried when possible or flushed.

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