All of us at Constellation love cupping - and it’s one of the modalities people ask about the most! One of the questions that often comes up is from people who have received cupping in the past, wondering why they felt sore, achy, tired, or flu-like after a treatment. This is a great question. So, here’s a blog post all why that can happen - and how some simple self-care can help prevent it!⠀
How Cupping Works
The suction and negative pressure created through cupping increases blood circulation, loosens muscles and connective tissue, clears “heat”. It also helps to draw out dead or stagnant blood cells, cellular debris, lymph fluid, and toxins out of the deeper tissues and up toward the surface, allowing for easier release from the body and improving overall blood circulation to the area.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, cupping “opens” the channels, the pathways in the body through which qi (dynamic life force energy) flows. A free flow of qi is necessary to support the function of the body’s tissues and organs. When that flow is obstructed, and the qi and blood are stagnant, pain and dysfunction results. Cupping helps to improve the flow of qi and blood, allowing for improved function and healing.
If someone is dehydrated, hasn't eaten enough, is fatigued, or has a sensitive constitution, their body just may not have the resources it needs in that moment to effectively circulate the qi, blood, and lymph, clear the toxins and debris, and integrate the effects of the treatment. The result? Feeling tired, a little achy, and kind of yucky as your body does the work it needs to do post-treatment. ⠀
Self-Care for Cupping
With the right self-care before and after a treatment, you can support your body so you feel as good as possible, avoid the achy flu-like feelings, and get all the awesome benefits of cupping. Here we go: ⠀
While it’s always important to stay hydrated, it’s especially important anytime you’re getting bodywork. Drink plenty of room-temperature water before your session and for 24-48 hours after. This will help your body flush out what has been drawn up to the surface during cupping!
Eat sometime during the day before your treatment, and have a snack after.⠀
Take it easy and avoid vigorous exercise immediately after the session. Walking, stretching, gentle yoga, or other gentle movements that align with your abilities and mobility are great options if you want to move after your session!⠀
Avoid drafts, sitting in front of fans or in windy places, or getting chilled, especially after a treatment. Cupping opens the pores and the channels, making the body vulnerable to attack from outside influence like wind and cold. From a Chinese medicine perspective, these environmental factors can trigger stiffness and pain and reduce the flow of energy and blood - so, steer clear and stay warm! ⠀
Avoid showering or swimming the rest of the day after your treatment. We know, this might sound like a really odd suggestion. But for the same reason that avoiding wind and cold is important, avoiding “dampness” from water and getting chilled from being wet, is important!
If you have any soreness post-session or if your cupping marks are very dark, massaging arnica gel, cream, or oil into the area can help promote healing and reduce any discomfort. You can also use a heating pad or hot water bottle on the cupped areas to help promote circulation and relax the muscles.
Tell your practitioner if you've ever experienced discomfort after cupping, or tend to respond strongly to acupuncture, cupping, or bodywork. Treatments can easily be modified to be more gentle and still very effective.
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*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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