Revitalise your body and mind: The benefits of cupping therapy

By Salon Gold on July 10th, 2023

Even if you’ve never experienced the wonders of cupping, take it from us — the pleasure is worth the pain. Cupping therapy is growing increasingly popular in contemporary salons, departing further from its origins as an ancient form of Chinese alternative medicine.

The treatment sees heated glass cups attached to a client’s skin, usually on the back, suctioned by the rapid cooling of the air inside the cup. This creates a vacuum effect, drawing the skin inside up into a dome shape. Several are usually attached at a time, and upon their removal, leave behind distinctive red marks. But while the effects may look scary, they’re usually gone within a week — and if advocates are anything to go by, cupping therapy provides an effective means to revitalise the fatigued body.

So, what exactly are the benefits of cupping? And is it safe? Let’s take a closer look at some of the effects of this tantalising technique.

What are the benefits of cupping?

1. Pain relief

Eagle-eyed viewers will remember when Olympian Michael Phelps emerged from the pool following his 2016 gold medal win in Rio, shoulders and lats bespeckled with purple bruises. The elite swimmer explained that this unusual complexion was down to cupping therapy he was receiving to alleviate muscle soreness during the arduous run-up to his Olympic victory.

But is there any truth to the pain-relieving rumours? Some reviews have shown that cupping can produce positive results for sufferers of chronic back pain, with improved outcomes for pain intensity in conditions where cupping therapy was used compared to those in which it wasn’t. The existing school of thought is that cupping stimulates blood flow in targeted areas and induces the body’s natural healing process.

2. Stress reduction

As well as reducing the pain associated with intense exercise and some chronic conditions, cupping can help to promote stress relief. From a physiological standpoint, this may be because it helps to regulate circulation to the affected areas, replenishing tissues with oxygen and removing toxins. This relaxes the muscles and relieves any built-up tension, especially when applied alongside other techniques like sports massage or thai massage.

What’s more, many find the ritual of actually attending a cupping session to be soothing. Much like how getting your hair or nails done can be a leisurely activity, more and more clients are discovering the serendipity of this unique form of massage. Between the scent of essential oils, the relaxing music, and the stillness as you undergo treatment, the ambience found in a cupping session is second to none. Some report that the treatment can even reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

3. Improved digestion

Supporters claim that cupping therapy can have benefits for digestion, particularly when applied to the abdominal area. The hypothesis goes that cupping unclogs blockages in the gut and brings toxins to the surface that may obstruct digestion. Some patients with digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome have had success treating their symptoms with cupping.

On the more spiritual side of things, cupping is also purported to promote the flow of ‘qi’, or energy, around the body — bringing a balance that can help to improve quality of life. Whether the effects noted by advocates are placebo-based or not, there’s no denying that cupping can vastly improve perceived symptoms among those that practise. In one study, 88% of individuals reported better quality of life with cupping.

Is cupping safe?

Cupping is a safe form of treatment when it’s implemented by a trained professional following the appropriate hygiene and aftercare protocols. This form of alternative medicine is fairly well-tolerated among the population, but it can cause mild side effects in some individuals. These include short-term discomfort or pain at the cupping site, swellings, skin discolouration and bruising. Most side effects will disappear by themselves within a couple of days after the therapy.

However, if you’re looking to add cupping to your salon services, it’s important to bear in mind that it’s not without its risks. As with any alternative medicine, you’ll need to make sure that you are appropriately insured in the event that something goes wrong — for example, if a client sustains permanent skin discolouration or blood clotting. While these effects aren’t common, they have been known to happen — and if it’s under your watch, they could prove costly to your business.

To make sure that you’re appropriately covered, we recommend taking on a dedicated cupping insurance policy. Holistic Gold’s cupping insurance plans ensure that you’re protected against any legal action that a client could make against your business. Get a quote and safeguard your trade today.

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