cupping and Gua Sha FAQ
What is cupping therapy?
Cupping is using heat or a suction tool to create a vacuum inside of a cup. This cup is placed on the skin and the suction pulls toxins, congestion, and stagnation out of muscles and up the the skin's surface. This process allows your body to to easily flush these fluids out as waste.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha is the practice of using a "scraping" tool to cause an irritation on the skin's surface which draw toxins, congestion, and stagnation out of muscles and up to the skin's surface. This is achieved by repeatedly stroking a client's oiled skin's surface with a smooth edged tool - often a ceramic soup spoon. This allows your body to to easily flush these fluids out as waste.
What are the benefits?
There are a range of benefits for both treatments.
Cupping Therapy is often used to facilitate healing in conditions such as blood circulation disorders, arthritic joint and muscular conditions, skin issues, and helps our general physical and psychological well-being.
Gua Sha is often used to facilitate healing in conditions such as muscle pain or spasms, as well as for respiratory problems, such as coughing or congestion.
In addition, gentle treatments with both techniques are used for cosmetic purposes to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines.
Is it painful?
The suction and scraping can be uncomfortable, but it shouldn't be very painful. When cups are first placed, it can feel tight or like a lot of pressure, but should lesson the longer they sit on the skin. Both treatments can be somewhat painful when done over sore muscles or in tender spots, but the majority of my clients have told me it feels relaxing and enjoyable.
Will I be bruised after? How long will they last?
Cupping and gua sha don't actually leave bruising, that's a common misconception. The treatments cause capillaries to burst but it's more similar to rug burn or "hickeys." Much of the coloring comes from the stagnant blood and toxins that were held deep withing the muscle fibers rising up to the skin's surface.
Is it dangerous?
For a lot of people it is beneficial and poses little risk. But like any bodywork treatment, it's not safe for everyone. Cupping therapy and gua sha is not recommended for people with the following:
medical conditions affecting the skin or veins
on blood thinning medications
deep vein thrombosis
an infection, tumor, or wound that has not healed fully
an implant, such as a pacemaker or internal defibrillator
areas of severely dry/flaky, infected, broken, sunburned, burned, or inflamed skin
If you have concerns about your specific health conditions and side effects, please consult with your PCP before your first treatment.
How often should I get these treatments?
That varies from client to client, but the more often someone receive these therapies the more beneficial they will be. In general, a client should not get a treatment while still healing from a previous one, usually at least 48 hours to a week after.
Studies have shown that COVID-19 can cause blood coagulation and clots in patients who have had the virus. Cupping therapy and gua sha can increase blood circulation and pull fluids out of tissues, which could dislodge any preexisting blood clots hidden therein.
Cupping and gua sha can also cause the pores to open and bring blood up to the surface of the skin. This could make those areas more susceptible if they are exposed to the virus. If a treatment is especially severe, it could tax the body which would weaken the immune system causing someone to be more susceptible for getting sick.
If you think you've had COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, please take these precautions into consideration before continuing your treatment.