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Seattle Acupuncture- Cupping

Cupping seems to be all the rage these days with Michael Phelps and other Olympians showing off their cupping marks to the media. Cupping is something that I do in the office in combination with acupuncture for most treatments because I have found it extremely beneficial for my clients and myself. Cupping is a form of muscular release and something that moves the energy in the acupuncture meridians. There are different forms of cupping and different types of cups. The most common cup people see are self vacuuming cups which include some suction device to suck the air out of the cup once placed on the body. I use glass fire cups in the office which involves quickly placing a cotton ball on fire into the cup (to remove the oxygen and create a vacuum) and removing the fire and placing the cup on the body. This is completely safe and not hot when done with a professional. And what I love about the glass fire cups is that the rims are very smooth so I can move them around the body without hurting the skin. Other types of cups include silicon cups which you can just press onto the skin to create suction.

Once the cup is on the body, there are different types of cupping techniques. One is called flash cupping where the practitioner pops a cup on and off the body in rapid succession. This can only be done when using fire cups. There is also running cupping, which I use personally in my office, which involves putting oil on the skin and moving the cup up and down different muscles to release tension and to move energy. And last, the traditional way of using cups is to stick a cup on a specific acupuncture point or muscles group and leaving it there for a certain amount of time.

When it comes to the benefits of cupping, there is a lot to talk about. Cupping is fantastic at relaxing the body and muscles of the body and removing pain. Any tight muscles or injured muscles can benefit from cups because it helps to release muscles tension, inflammation and fascia. Cupping is also great for removing emotional and physical stress off the body (which is how I primarily use it). This helps people who struggle with anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD and just plain life stress. Cupping is also great for moving stuck energy which is a common cause of ailments in Chinese medicine. In Chinese medicine theory, if the energy in the body is moving smoothly, then no ailments should exist.

Last, if you are worried about the crazy looking bruises left on the body after cupping and are worried that cupping hurts, no need to fret. Although bruising is very common, receiving cupping is similar to getting a deep tissue massage. 95% of my clients love it and request it even though they bruise afterwards. One thing to note is that if you receive cupping on a regular basis, you wont bruise very much after the 3rd or 4th treatment because the body gets used to it.

If you havent tried cupping, I highly recommend it along with having acupuncture. These modalities are fantastic for sustainable, long term health and wellness. Talk to your local acupuncturist about cupping or if you are in the Seattle area, schedule an appointment today at my office.

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Ben Dorfman, E.A.M.P.

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