It’s true. I have been cupped. I have joined the long list of celebrities cuppers (Lena Dunham, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer Aniston – just to name a few) and I have to say that I am a believer.
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy that involves glass or silicon cups that suction to your skin using either heat or pressure. This suction draws the blood to the localized area and promotes healing and deep tissue stimulation. These cups can be dragged across the skin to create a deep tissue massage. I know. The name is sounds strange but the experience is quite relaxing.
I am a casual receiver of massages. I have had many but I don’t have them on a regular schedule. I enjoy them — a lot. I mean, who doesn’t. And like any 30ish female, I carry stress and tension in my shoulders. I don’t have any extreme ailments so I don’t often get deep tissue massages. Massages for me are for a stress relieving and muscles relaxing nature. So when Stefanie, the owner of Copperfalls Aveda Spa and Salon, asked me to try out their new Cupping service, I was a little nervous. Cupping is known for its deep tissue benefits and it even leaves suction marks on your body. I tend to find deep tissue massages painful. Some may like the pain, but I would prefer to be lulled into a peaceful calm, trance like state by my massage. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. Surely, something that actually left marks on your body would not be calming or relaxing. I mean, if you google pictures of cupping, you might find yourself thinking “that can’t be good for you”. But I decided to give it a swing. You can’t judge what you have never experienced.
I showed up to Copperfalls about 15 minutes early so that I could check in and get changed into my robe. They offered me a relaxing cup of tea to start my service and I sat in their quiet and tranquil waiting area until Nichelle came to get me for my service. Nichelle showed me how the cups (they use Bellabaci cups) worked and asked me about any specific areas of concern. We decided to concentrate on my back and upper body. She applied the first few cup — not too bad. It was as you would assume — suction-y. You could tell that the cups were reaching deep into the muscle but the longer the cup stayed in place, the more you didn’t feel them. At the beginning I tried to count how many she put on my back, but I quickly lost count. She began moving some of the cups she placed down my back and around my shoulder blades. It was a deep massage but instead of the normal pain of being pushed on, it was actually quite relaxing because the muscle was instead being drawn out. Soon I found myself in my happy place, that zone of peaceful, tranquil sleep but awake. Had this really happened?! Had I really found the best of both worlds — equal parts relaxing and deep?! It was a massage miracle.
The hour long service ended with me on my back receiving cups on my arms and my sternum. And when it was finished, I didn’t want it to be over. I figured begging Nichelle to keep going was probably not going to work – so I rolled into my robe and sleepily complied to drink a glass of water in the waiting room. After my post cupping bliss wore off a littl, I went back to the dressing room and changed back into my clothes but not before taking a #cuppingselfie.
Nichelle got me good. I had some intense looking suction marks. My husband and my mom were a little concerned when I showed them later that night. But to their astonishment and mine, the suction marks didn’t hurt at all. And in about a week, they had completely vanished.
My consensus: DO IT! If you have a little pain or a lot of pain, a cupping session is a great answer. It’s been two weeks since my session and my tension has yet to come back even after a week babysitting my two year old nephew. The benefits of cupping long outlast the same benefits of a massage. And those suction marks? Wear them with honor. You’re taking care of your body and that should be celebrated.