It looks so painful, doesn’t it? But when done correctly it isn’t at all. In fact, it should feel good. Yeah, it does leave a circular skin discoloration that can last a few hours to a few days but it’s not an actual bruise that hurts
Cupping is used for several reasons. It is used to release very tight and sore muscles in an area. It is used on the upper back when someone has an illness that has affected the lungs To pull out heat and toxins. It is also used as a form of massage called “moving cups” to release the soft tissue. In this case, we use massage oil on the area, place the cup on top of it with suction and gently move the cup with the massage oil – it’s like an opposite massage where instead of pressing in, we are lifting the muscle up.
Another treatment we do with acupuncture is called Gua Sha. Our nickname for it is “the scrapy thing” because we use a scraping motion. We take a flat tool or sometimes a spoon, put massage oil or olive oil in the area, and use the edge of the tool or the spoon to scrape along the tight area. I especially like to use Gua Sha on the neck, shoulders and arms. It’s another very effective way to relax tight areas and isn’t painful. If the problem is persistent, I may also have you practice this at home.
These are just a couple of things that acupuncturists do in addition to needles. There are many more!