It’s kind of like an “inside out massage” and can provide fast relief
Dr. Ray Himmelman Le Blanc, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner at the George Wellbeing Center breaks down the basics of cupping:
What is cupping?
There’s evidence of cupping being used in Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures for thousands of years. Whether you’ve got aches and pains, experience frequent colds, have frozen shoulder or are an athlete looking to manage muscle tension—cupping could be for you.
At the George Wellbeing Center, TCM practitioners use suction to place glass cups on skin, which brings blood flow to the surface of skin. This process can help improve circulation, stimulate the immune system and promote healing.
The methodology during a cupping session can include:
- Leaving cups in place on the skin for a few minutes
- Gliding cups across the skin using an oil between the cup and skin
- Moving cups in a rhythmic sequence
There are a variety of cup sizes that might be used during a session—larger cups are placed on large muscles (like the back) and smaller cups are placed on small muscles (like the neck).
Although disposable plastic cups are an option, the George Wellbeing Center chooses to use glass cups because they are reusable and produce less waste.
The physics of cupping
Suction is created by lighting an alcohol-soaked cotton swab on fire and swirling the swab inside the cup to heat the air. When the cup is placed on the skin, the air cools and creates suction.
Although a flame is used—it’s only used to heat the air, and is never used on the body. The amount of time between heating the air and placing the cup on the skin allows your TCM practitioner to modify the pressure or degree of suction.
What to expect from a cupping session
The most important thing to know going into a cupping session is that the suction will leave circular marks on your skin that typically go away in about a week.
At the George Wellbeing Center, each 30-minute cupping session includes:
- TCM consultation
- Palpation (your practitioner will physically touch areas of the body where work will be done to check muscle tension)
- Cups are placed
- An herbal cream is used after cups are removed
Similar to massage, cupping sessions are usually done while you lie on a table, and will require you to undress to a level with which you are comfortable.
Although cupping is sometimes uncomfortable, it shouldn’t hurt. The pressure is always adjustable, and most people consider cupping to feel good.
Now available at the George Wellbeing Center
To book a cupping session, call 612-465-0468 or book in person—find the George Wellbeing Center on the skyway (second) level of the Dayton YMCA in downtown Minneapolis.
When you commit to a wellbeing plan at the Center, all of the services associated with your plan are 20% off. Additionally, financial scholarships are available to ensure everyone can practice self-care.