Massage Cupping and VacuTherapy

A wonderful ancient tool has found its place in the modern world of healing. Massage Cupping and VacuTherapy evolved from the common practice of cupping therapy, and the incredible results that this simple treatment produces have truly impressed those who experience its subtle power. By creating suction and negative pressure, Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy is used to soften tight muscles and tone attachments, loosen adhesions and lift connective tissue, bring hydration and blood flow to body tissues, and drain excess fluids and toxins by opening lymphatic pathways. Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy bodywork is versatile and can easily be modified to accomplish a range of techniques, from lymphatic drainage to deep tissue and facial release. This complements many health modalities ranging from spa treatments to medical massage.

Massage Cupping is fun and result-oriented… and the treatment FEELS GREAT!

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Intense Cellulite and Glute Lift Treatment

Before and after photos of a 60 minute intense cellulite and glute lift treatment.

Fat or Solid Bloat? What is Solid Bloat?

Solid bloat are layers of dehydrated stagnant lymph, old blood and cellular debris.  Solid bloat can accumulate in the body and appear as fat and extra weight, abdominal bloating, cellulite or those stubborn areas that don’t respond to dieting and exercise.  Medi-Cupping uses decompression to lift and separate tissues.  By creating suction and negative pressure Vacuum therapies are used to drain toxins and excess fluids, loosen adhesions and lift connective tissue bringing blood flow to stagnant muscles and skin.  Cupping Therapy draws inflammation out of the body while increasing circulation and hydration of the tissues.  It is safe, highly effective, non invasive and not an irritant to the skin.  This simple treatment has truly impressed those who have experienced its subtle power.

Other Applications for Medi-Cupping:

-Sinus and Allergy issues -Poor Circulation -TMJ Dysfunction -Scar Reduction -Pre/Post Operative Therapy to shorten recovery time -Arthritis -Ease Neuropathy pain for diabetics -Chronic Pain -Poor Circulation -IBS or Sluggish Colon -Plantar fascitis -Athletic Stress and Injury

Frequently Asked Questions

“Solid Bloat” – What If We’re Not Fat?-

By Anita J. Shannon, Director of ACE, LMT, CMCE

An unrecognized pathological condition is affecting a large segment of the population and could be a key component of disease and degeneration, allergies and addictions, as well as obesity and toxicity. The condition is “Solid Bloat” and often manifests as weight gain or cellulite, and can eventually lead to serious health issues. Working with vacuum therapies not only effectively assists in eliminating years of Solid Bloat accumulation, it also provides information about the cause and nature of the condition.

How many times have we looked in the mirror over the years, only to see one of our parents appearing right before our eyes? What is this gradual weight gain that we casually identify as a sign of aging? One answer is the “walking history” that our body has become … layers of chemical and physical impacts that the body has processed and often stored due to an overload of the systems. The body tissues and structures of the body become congested and further compromised, and an unhealthy environment is created.

Let’s take a look at the formation of Solid Bloat in the body and some of its causes. The physical formation of the deposits is simple; heat from inflamed tissue slowly dehydrates the surrounding lymph, which inhibits any further drainage. Fascia fuses together from the heat and the congestion spreads through the upper tissues and skin surface. This inflammation can come from a myriad of sources such as surgeries, injuries, chronic movement patterns, and even childhood diseases and exposure to toxicities … resulting in unidentified allergies.

The surprise for so many people is that they have chronic conditions that may have been caused by something so long ago in their life, such as being exposed to excessive cigarette smoke as a child. There is a whole group of us that grew up in the 40’s through the 70’s and had to endure our parents smoking in the house and car. As the cups move over the back, a grey color can be seen under the skin, and if a cup is parked for even a short time, the discoloration may stay visible after the treatment. The chronic heat in the lungs … from childhood … inflames and dehydrates the surrounding tissue and body fluids.

It is imperative to use clear cups for treatments so that the cup can become a magnifying glass into the body. Large white deposits against pink skin indicate congestion and “divots” will quickly show adhesions, restrictions and the true nature of scars. The epidural insertion point can often still be seen on women who gave birth over 25 years ago and can frequently be a source of restriction that has spread throughout the back. It is important to observe the colors of the tissue in the cup, and test the skin for heat levels after the cup is removed to assess inflammation levels underneath.

Palpating Solid Bloat can be done with the hands and through the cups. Discern the texture of the tissue both with tactile and visual insight.  Is the tissue hot or cold, pink or white … or mottled, is it hard and bumpy, soft and spongy, discolored?

One student, 29, experienced her skin turning very yellow after the first day of class. There seemed to be no reasonable explanation until she called her mother and found that she had been severely jaundiced as a baby. She then shared with the class that she had always had problems bending forward because of a “catch” in the lower right ribs. Her class partner worked that day over her liver and the student finally discovered the freedom of movement that most of us normally enjoy.

Some clients can experience a light “burning” sensation or itching as old toxins in the tissues are stimulated, and heavy discolorations can appear on the skin from old surgeries and injuries. Any old residue in the congested lymph can trigger the immune system and it is important to dredge and drain the tissues slowly in those who already live with auto-immune disorders and degenerative diseases. But what an amazing benefit for those conditions … to drain out the thick congestion that can be filled with a large volume of immune system irritants!

What impact could we have on those who are recovering from addictions such as tobacco and other drugs? If the Solid Bloat on these people contains a large residue of their addictive substance, it would be extremely beneficial to drain out the congestion and remove the triggers for cell receptors. This could also be effective for those who are losing a large quantity of weight, much of which is actually Solid Bloat.

Have you ever massaged a client’s head and found deposits of a gel-like substance? What if this is the same Solid Bloat, and has been created by acute or chronic inflammation of the brain tissue? Theories abound that chronic inflammation of the body tissues from allergies and toxicities can also inflame the brain, severely clouding short term memory and even lead to mental pathologies. What if this inflamed condition is part of the diseases that we call dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Examining the natural body reaction to injury or illness, we find that the cycle is consistent. Injury or illness occurs and the body creates inflammation, which brings increased blood flow to the area. This also draws fluids and immune system elements into the region to deal with the condition. The PH shifts to acid and the tissue takes on a positive charge polarity. Adequate recovery will allow the body to shift back to a negative charge in the tissue and an alkaline PH when healing is complete. This action is similar and linked to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous sub-systems of the autonomic nervous system.

The problem is that very few people actually give the body any recovery time. Therefore, the affected area or system stays in the acid PH with a positive charge and never shifts back to healthy tissue. This can continue for life in the body! Inflammation continues and dehydrates the tissue and lymph. The toxins and debris from the immune system response become trapped in the congestion and the issue becomes chronic. The acid PH of the tissue blocks oxygenation and nutrients, and dehydrated tissue cannot even absorb hydration that is available. The tissue or system now becomes vulnerable to all kinds of new pathologies and the entire immune system is overly stimulated and strained.

So how does vacuum therapy work to eliminate Solid Bloat and open drainage in the body? The biggest impact is on the lymphatic system; the vacuum will open and create space, release old scars and fascial adhesions to create unimpeded drainage, and aid in decongestion of the lymph terminations in tissues.  As the cup glides over the skin and underlying tissue, the vacuum should open the flaps of the lymph micro-vessel in a wave-like motion. This can help to dislodge trapped protein molecules that may have been blocking an open flap and gently triggers the entire lymphatic system. Static placement of cups is not as beneficial in this type of bodywork, since leaving constant suction on one spot will draw congestion into an area. A great example of this is how effective static placement of a cup is for pulling a cyst into an easily removable form for surgical procedures.

Vacuum therapies use vascular dilation to bring heat to the area and liquefy the old lymph for easy movement, and use the same vascular dilation to eliminate the latent inflammation from the tissue and stop the cycle.  These techniques also assist by changing the PH and polarity of the tissue to create a healthy environment and allow healing. This can affect even very old injuries and finally free the tissue or joint to function at optimal levels.

Let’s now take into consideration the emotional-somatic components of Solid Bloat and its importance in working with vacuum therapies.  A pattern has been found that many auto-immune disorders might be linked to a post-traumatic stress syndrome combined with exposure to a toxic element. As the other elements of medications, immune system debris, and tissue wastes are dredged and drained there may also be the presence of neurochemicals in the congestion. This can trigger intense dreams or an emotional response to treatment, yet can be a wonderful elimination of a nervous system trigger and may truly help the client to recognize a deep part of their condition.

One important piece of information that working with the cups has shown us is the presence of “phantom breast syndrome”. Imagine the emotional debris that is left in the tissue along with the injury from a mastectomy, especially a radical procedure. When a large breast cup is placed over the area and the tissue is gently pumped to facilitate release of restrictive scar tissues and drainage of the congested lymph, the reaction has been nothing short of spectacular. Reactions have ranged from tears to a radiant smile as the “phantom breast” … the energy field of the breast … feels again. Creating space in the existing tissue and surgical scarring for the remaining lymphatic system to re-establish itself, releasing old inflammation from the medical procedure, and changing the PH and polarity of the tissue so that it can heal is of crucial value in these cases, yet the emotional  and energetic healing is also of utmost importance.

Consider the person who cannot lose weight, whether slightly overweight to clinically obese and undergoing surgical procedures. What a gift to their self esteem to finally find out that some of the problem has been Solid Bloat. What a great treatment for a client to have old C-section scars comfortably released, and the restored lymph flow to the upper inguinal nodes significantly diminishing the large belly that she had carried around for years.

The best possible adjunct therapy for Bariatric surgeries is a series of MediCupping™ sessions to open the lymphatic system, dredge and drain old congestion and move it out to be eliminated. When working on a client who has lost a large amount of weight, it is so rewarding to move a large “saddlebag” from one leg and have them stand up to compare the difference!

These kinds of results, and educating the client on how they may have come to be in the shape they are in, seem to offer a sense of relief to many. It appears to lift some blame that they have placed on themselves as to why they have cellulite when they have a healthy lifestyle … or why they have gained more and more weight over the years. Viewing their body and tissues through the cup offers insight into the history of their body experiences and how these have affected their current health.

Having a tool that assists in evaluation and also provides the most comfortable and effective methods of affecting client health at such a profound level is of major benefit to today’s therapists. The results are often dramatic and visible, since vacuum therapies work nicely with the homeostatic mechanisms of the body. The addition of such adjunct therapies as aromatherapy, taping and magnetic micro-cups can become a complete tool box for working with an extremely wide variety of client conditions.

While the manual cupping equipment is tried and true, the new machines now offer an even wider range of techniques and a professional appearance when working with the medical community. Equipment is important, yet thorough training is the most vital of all. Try starting with a DVD and practice before attending a workshop, or attend the workshop and practice before working on clients.

A great practice body is your own! Work just on your face and/or body twice each week for one month and take pictures of what happens. Not only will your sinuses feel clearer, and even your eyesight and digestive function might benefit, but your true face and body can come back out from under any Solid Bloat. Now, take a look in the mirror to see who is there …

  • How is Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy accomplished?

    The cup is positioned over the area of the body to be treated and suction is created using a vacuum. The more traditional method from Chinese medicine involved inserting a flame into a glass cup to create the vacuum. The suction level can range from light to heavy, and the movements performed by the therapist can be stimulating or sedating.

  • What is the difference between Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy and traditional Chinese cupping therapy?

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine, stationary cups are placed on the skin and left for a period of five to fifteen minutes, and then cups may also be moved over the area. The goal of Chinese cupping therapy is to move stagnation of blood and chi, disperse internal heat, and other applications based on Traditional Chinese Medical diagnostics. Traditional cupping therapies are also generally used in many cultures on both adults and children for respiratory conditions, pain relief, and multiple other uses in home health care.

    Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy is a more commonly used tool for massage therapists and other healthcare practitioners. Before applying the cup, therapist will administer oil or lotion to facilitate smooth movement. The entire back may be treated, including the neck, shoulders, middle and lower back, and sacral area. The hip and thigh areas may also be treated, and abdominal Massage Cupping bodywork feels just incredible. Almost every area of the body responds to this unique treatment.

  • How does Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy feel?

    The sensation is truly indescribable, often experienced as a deep warmth and a tingling sensation lasting long after the treatment has ended. The action on the nervous system is sedating, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. The body comes alive, and new ease of movement can truly be felt.

  • What are the benefits of Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy?

    Massage Cupping therapy is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out, yes does not add to it. The skin will turn red with strong movements, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface. Application of liniments, analgesics, plant hydrosols and essential oil blends immediately after Massage Cupping bodywork will enable adsorption of the product deep into the tissue. Increased local blood supply to the muscles and skin will bring nourishment and allow for toxins to be carried away via the veins. Conditions of chronic and acute pain can be relieved with minimal discomfort and tense muscles softened quickly and easily. Massage Cupping therapy is wonderfully effective as an addition to a massage or other therapeutic service.

    Another effective application of Massage Cupping is in the treatment of cellulite. A very light suction provides drainage, while heavier application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or “dimpling”. The thighs and hip region should be treated prior to a wrapping procedure to enhance the absorption of product. Enjoy the feeling of warm, energized skin being painted with soothing algae, mud or gel before being enveloped.

    Treatments using Massage Cupping therapy include a revolutionary face lifting and drainage treatment and magnetic micro-cup reflexology for the feet and hands. The magnetic equipment is showing great results in the treatment of injury sites, neuropathy and pain.

  • Why should I request Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy?

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of experiencing this therapy is the incredibly wide range of movements. Creativity provides a variety of methods, while alteration of pressure and speed produces amazingly different sensations. The edge of the cup can be used to “scoop” in a cross fiber movement. Vigorous circles feel marvelous on the hips, thighs and shoulders. Long strokes down the sides of the spine and along the ribs provide ease to rib cage expansion and breathing. Stubborn neck tension can be released in mere minutes and scar tissue softened using “reverse friction” technique.

    People often report that the experience stayed with them longer than most treatments, and the speed with which  Massage Cupping effects change in the tissue is truly amazing. When used in a treatment series, the results are cumulative. Yes even in a single treatment, a long-term physical issue may be resolved! Applications for this technique include body contouring, chronic pain relief, pre-surgery prepping and post-surgery recovery (face and body), detoxification, and increased sports performance. Conditions that have responded to Massage Cupping therapy include colon disorders, edema, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, cellulite, nervous tension and many more!

  • What is the discoloration that occurs after some treatments?

    There is a “marked” difference between traditional Chinese cupping therapy and Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy. The marks that are commonly left from TCM treatments are the desired result. Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy very rarely produces this discoloration, called a ‘cup kiss’ or ‘doo-hickey’. If this appears during the treatment, it’s just an added bonus indicating the release of intense stagnation (body fluids and toxins) in the area. This is not a bruise and will dissipate anywhere between a dew hours and a few days. It is also unlikely that it will re-occur in the same area.

  • Is Massage Cupping/VacuTherapy safe?

    This technique is used safely on children, adults and elderly persons. The most common misuse of Massage Cupping therapy is overuse. This is an intense therapy, and its impact on the body systems is significant. In particular the elderly, children, and person with diabetes and those on blood thinners should be treated gently. After any Massage Cupping treatment, it is important to avoid exposure to excessive heat or cold, and sufficient hydration is required to facilitate elimination. A complete assessment of specific conditions at the time of treatment must be taken into consideration by the practitioner.

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