Cupping has become quite popular in the last several years. Olympians are seen with cup marks on their backs, many who receive it rave about how helpful and amazing it is. So do I offer this modality and what is it even?
Cupping actually uses glass or plastic cups on various areas of the body and adds suction either via heat or a tool that removes air from the cup to lift the superficial tissues up away from the muscle and bone.
I often get asked if I offer cupping and my response is always the same, I learned basic cupping in massage school and received it as well. I also usually respond that I should probably take a continuing education course and offer it due to it's popularity, but I have been mulling this over more recently. I likely will not add on cupping therapy to my practice. I do think it is beneficial, especially for stubborn areas, however it does not align with my focus and vision for my practice.
Cupping can be rather intense. Yes, the intensity can be controlled, however, it feels like a deep tissue therapy that for me personally as a recipient was quite uncomfortable. My practice has been focused on serving clients who, like myself, typically struggle to find a massage therapist who doesn't cause them pain while also providing effective work.
Lighter, gentler work can be very effective and I believe firmly in that.
To add cupping to my practice would come form a place of wanting to keep clients who express interest in this modality at my practice alone. I believe that different therapists can specialize in different things, and in fact that can better serve the population as a whole because everyone will know what therapist will be meet their needs. I specialize in prenatal massage as well as pain free, effective massage.
So rather than adding cupping to my practice, I plan to continue to develop my skills in gentler modalities to address pain and tight muscles such as soft tissue melting, that works deep into the tissue without pain, craniosacral therapy that addresses the craniosacral fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and myofascial release which uses holds to gently stretch superficial tissues and release areas of tension and in turn, I will refer out to my colleagues for cupping therapy.