Ways to Wellness: Cupping

Innovative technique improves circulation, loosens up muscles and joints

By Pauline DiGiorgio

Editor’s note: This is the final segment in our “Ways to Wellness” series.

cuppingCupping therapy confused me.

I started seeing all the painful looking circular bruises on many Olympians, athletes and celebrities, but read all the great reviews gushing about the detoxification effects.

I decided this would be a fantastic way to end my “Ways To Wellness” series since this topic has been topping the wellness “must do” treatments.

Cupping therapy requires glass or silicone cups being suctioned onto major muscle groups to increase blood flow to the area.
The therapist can continuously move the cups, which promotes organs and tissues to rid the body’s natural waste.

You’re creating space to drain toxin, all while manually moving things around and pushing cells into the lymphatic system, also known as your body’s filtration system.

This will provide a catalyst to boost a natural detoxification process. But with all that said, the most common reasons to get “cupped” are to offset pain and inflammation and enhance relaxation, much like that of a deep-tissue massage.

It improves circulation by pulling stagnant blood from the tissue being worked on and allows for fresh blood to flow in. This will release any tension, which is responsible for soreness in muscles. Also, by pulling the stagnant blood out, it also helps with lymph/lactic acid drainage.

My treatment was done in a med spa, so I was in a Zen state of mind. I was met with warm lighting, heated bed, soft music, and a very welcoming environment at MV Massage Therapy, 3985 Oneida St., Suite 104, New Hartford.

Pete Schachtler, my cupping massage therapist, explained it is completely painless, and he would start by warming up my body with a massage.

After I was truly at ease, he then took out the plastic silicone cups and suctioned those on with light pressure. It sounds like someone sipping a thick milkshake out of an almost empty cup.

The vacuum that’s created pulls the skin and blood vessels in toward the cup, which is why they can leave marks on the skin.

It feels a bit uncomfortable at first, but then once you settle in, mentally quiet your mind, your muscles will signal to relax, making the entire experience very similar to a full-body massage.

cuppingMy upper and lower back was definitely needing some “righting” and afterwards, it released knots that I know no amount of foam rolling or stretching could cure.

It lasted 60 minutes, but I added a 30-minute extra massage session since I was giving myself a “self care” day as well.

Let’s talk about the aftermath as I walked around with my body marked with “souvenirs,” or red circles varying in different shades of maroon.

They last about 3 to 5 days, but thankfully they are mostly on my back, covered by a shirt.

The darker marks identify relatively poor areas of circulation and higher levels of toxicity being brought up to the surface of your skin versus faint marks.

I have a mixture of both, which means I’m fairly balanced, and that makes sense!

So as this last segment of my “Ways to Wellness” series comes to a close, a shout out of thanks goes out the studios, spas and venues that welcomed me into their space to explore various treatments.

We’ll close this chapter and let you the reader find your special way to wellness!

• Pauline DiGiorgio is a fitness ambassador and Group X instructor at Retro Fitness gyms. Questions? Email her at ptlifts@gmail.com.