Cupping is an ancient form of therapy where special cups are used on the skin for a few minutes to create suction. Most practices use fire or a rubber pump to create negative pressure so the air in the cup creates a vacuum to draw the skin to the surface.
This vacuum effect causes your skin to rise and redden due to the dilation and expansion of your blood vessels. The Cupper we use provides rhythmic alternation of suction and release, so that your skin, fascia and muscles are constantly being boosted with blood circulation.
At Ascension Sports Therapy we use a Dynamic Cupping device - Achedaway, the first of its kind. This combines dynamic suction and release, with massage and red light therapy.
Red light therapy is a treatment that aids in pain relief, reduces inflammation and heals muscle tissue by using special cells in your skin which soak up the light and produce more energy. It exposes you to very low levels of red/near-infrared light. Infrared light is a type of energy you can’t see, however your body can feel it as heat (not the same light used in tanning booths and does not expose your skin to harmful UV rays).
Cupping is known to leave some discolouration of the skin. When negative pressure is created and skin has been drawn to the surface, many tiny blood capillaries in the superficial layer of muscles and skin are broken. This drives the body to treat the area as a bruise and start the healing process. This process causes the discoloration of the skin by producing chemicals known as inflammatory mediators and forms tiny blot clots under the skin.
When suction occurs, the gap between the skin layers increases. This extra space allows the tissues to collect more fluids, toxins, and dead cellular debris under the top layer of the skin. As the lymphatic system washes this debris away, the skin returns to its original colour.
One of the most common outcomes of cupping therapy should lie within the range of a healthy pinkish colour. According to the severity of the pink colour, this indicates anywhere between a healthy body with little to no toxins to very mild stagnation. In most cases, the colour reaches its peak in 4 to 5 days and starts to disappear as the body washes it away and heals the scars.
Since these colours indicate low levels of toxins, they’re common among regular and frequent cupping patients, as the toxins don’t get enough time to build-up between sessions.
As you go darker in the shades of pink and red, this indicates a mild to moderate stagnation in the blood. They develop during treatment and remain for about 10 to 12 days. They’re common within non-frequent users, as the time between the sessions is enough for toxins to build up.