Ikigai Integrative

Cupping & Gua Sha

Cupping is a common Traditional Chinese modality that relies on suction through the use of cups to break up and move stagnation. It is commonly utilized by either using fire or through a hand pump to gain the desired suction. Gua Sha is a Traditional Chinese technique that involves using a massage tool to scrape the superficial tissue layers of the body, such as the skin.

How Cupping Works

The vacuum created by the absence of oxygen in the cup pulls tissue up, creating space between external tissue layers (Cou Li/ Exterior). This helps to break down adhesions or scar tissue formed due injury or stagnation. It also helps to increase circulation of Defensive Qi (Wei Qi) promoting immunity within the body. For other techniques, such as sliding cupping, the movement of the vacuum further breakdown adhesions as well as, breakdown dysfunctional blood vessels that are no longer transporting blood effectively. This is what creates the physiological bruise seen post-treatment. Flash cupping works based on the same mechanism, however it is typically used to warm an area of the body to create less stagnation, such as cold pathologies in the abdomen.

What can cupping treat?

  • Headaches
  • Neck/Shoulder Pain
  • Lower Back/Hip Pain
  • Muscle Imbalances
  • Fascial Restrictions
  • Inflammation
  • Common Cold/Flu

Commonly used techniques for cupping are:

  • Stationary Cupping (The cup is left after it is applied. This technique is commonly used to bring blood to the area and to open the interstitial space, thus increasing circulation)

  • Slide Cupping (After oil and cup are applied to the skin, the cup is moved. This technique is commonly used to break up scar tissue and other adhesions)

  • Flash Cupping (This quick technique is done by immediately removing the cup after it has been applied to the skin. This technique is commonly used to increase circulation and warm applied areas.)

How Gua Shua Works

The scraping stimulates microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. It can also break down adhesions or scar tissue that cause restriction in the body, thus restoring mobility and function to the body. Additionally, due to its application to the superficial layers of the body it also is used to help promote immunity by flushing and mobilizing lymph and Defensive Qi (Wei Qi)

What can Gua Shua treat?

  • Headaches
  • Neck/Shoulder Pain
  • Lower Back/Hip Pain
  • Muscle Imbalances
  • Fascial Restrictions
  • Inflammation
  • Common Cold/Flu