Cupping Massage and Gua Sha are Oriental therapies used to open up the ‘Meridians’ of the body. Meridians are the pathways through which ‘Qi’ – the vital energy flows to every part of the body and through every organ and tissue. These therapies are often added in conjunction to your acupuncture treatments (if needed) to relieve pain and tension, and to promote normal circulation and metabolic processes. When qi and blood are stuck in the surface, fascia fabric and function are compromised. Both Gua Sha and cupping massage move this stuck blood, invigorating the meridians and releasing adhesions in the fascia, which restores the normal processes of circulation and draws inflammation out. You can expect to have some red or purplish marks on your skin as a result of the toxins and stagnation being brought to the surface of the skin where the treatment was performed, but it will fade with a day or so.
With cupping, the practitioner uses various shaped cups that suction onto the back creating suction and negative pressure. Cupping has also been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system. Massage cupping is used to drain excess fluids and toxins; stimulate the peripheral nervous system; bring blood flow to stagnant muscles and skin; and loosen adhesions, connective tissue and stubborn knots in soft tissue.
Gua Sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. The smooth edge is placed against the pre-oiled skin surface, pressed down firmly, and then moved down the muscles or along the pathway of the acupuncture meridians.
These therapies are used when someone is experiencing muscle tension and stress; which itself may manifest in chronic neck or back pain, tendonitis, headaches tight, stiff, tense muscles. The tendency towards muscle tension and pain may be the result of adhesions and scar tissue. These adhesions are usually the fascia or connective tissues adhering to the muscles or other soft tissues, preventing the fluid movement of muscles. Both gua sha and cupping therapy can break down and release scar tissue and adhesions.