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What is Facial Cupping?

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Facial cupping is a type of holistic therapy designed to stimulate the muscles and skin. It works by lightly pulling the skin from the layers of fascia beneath the skin. If you don't already know, fascia is made up of fibrous connective tissue containing closely packed bundles of collagen fibers in a wavy pattern parallel to the direction of pull. Fascia is flexible and able to resist a tremendous amount of force until the wavy pattern of fibers have been straightened out by the pulling force. These collagen fibers are produced by fibroblasts located within the fascia.

Cupping was established as an official therapeutic practice in the 1950s across hospitals in China after research conducted by Chinese and former Soviet Union acupuncturists confirmed cupping’s effectiveness! In recent years cupping has been growing in popularity, with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, David Arquette, and athlete Michael Phelps drawing public attention to the traditional Chinese therapy technique.

People get it for many different purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.

Cups may be made out of:

  • Glass

  • Plastic

  • Silicone

  • Bamboo

  • Horn

Different methods of cupping:

  • Dry

  • Wet

  • Oil

  • Flash

Cupping is an alternative therapy that uses suction cups to stimulate your skin and muscles. It can be done on your face or body. The suction promotes increased blood circulation, which may help relieve muscle tension, promote cell repair, and aid in other regeneration. It’s also said to improve the flow of your “qi” (pronounced “chee”). Qi is a Chinese word meaning life force.

Although the practice is deeply ingrained in Traditional Chinese Medicine, some researchers say that the earliest pictorial records originated in ancient Egypt.

Other Benefits Of Chinese Cupping

This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person's asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common conditions that cupping is used to relieve.

Cupping’s detoxifying effect on skin and circulatory system is also significant, with a visible improvement in skin color after three to five treatments. Cupping removes toxins and improves blood flow through the veins and arteries. Especially useful for athletes as cupping’s potential to relieve muscle spasms.

Cupping also affects the digestive system, improves metabolism, relieves from constipation, promotes a healthy appetite, and stronger digestion.

A 2015 report published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine noted cupping as an effective alternative method of treating acne, pain, facial paralysis, cervical spondylosis, and herpes zoster.

As health practitioners and researchers continue to study the benefits of cupping, this traditional alternative care technique will gain further acceptance and wider practice across holistic healthcare centers in the U.S. as an effective treatment for a wide variety of ailments.

How does it work?

The suction effect pulls blood into the area of skin underneath the cup. This saturates the surrounding tissue with fresh blood and promotes new blood vessel formation.

Cupping also promotes sterile inflammation. Sterile inflammation is a form of pathogen-free trauma. With cupping, it results from mechanical trauma.

The vacuum-like suction separates different layers of tissues, resulting in microtrauma and tearing. This triggers an inflammatory response, flooding the area with white blood cells, platelets, and other healing aids. The face will likely become flushed or red during facial cupping but rarely ever left with bruising or pin pointed bleeding. The pinkish/reddish hue is completely normal and is just a signal that blood is rising to the surface of your skin and oxygenating it for a glow that lasts for days.

Here are 7 ways facial cupping improves the health and appearance of your skin:

1. Stimulates Collagen Production

As we get older, the elasticity of our skin fades. Stimulating collagen production can help keep skin looking young, firm, and smooth. This will also help with skin regeneration.

2. Eliminates Puffiness

Looking puffy after last night's wine? Facial cupping can help you find your cheekbones again and get rid of those under-eye bags. Cup enough and you may not even need to contour.

3. Enhances Glow

The suction of cupping brings blood to the top of your skin, revitalizing your visage. Though your face may get a touch pink or red because of this, it will pass within ten minutes or so. You'll be left with an angelic glow that looks like you've been juice cleansing for months.

4. Helps Product Penetration

The suction of the rubber cup opens up your pores and makes product seep in deeply.

5. Reduces Fine Lines

Wrinkles happen and unfortunately there's no way to avoid them completely. Botox and fillers are all well and fine, but natural remedies are more sustainable and kind on the body.

6. Lightens Skin Imperfections

If you've struggled with acne, scarring, melasma, or any other discoloration, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the impact cupping has on skin coloration. It may take a couple sessions to notice a difference, but many see changes almost immediately.

7. Shrinks Size of Pores

Who doesn't want smaller pores? Cupping is no joke when it comes to pore shrinkage. You'll notice a difference after the first time. If you're into things like diminishing fine lines and getting a healthy glow, you have to try facial cupping. It's super easy.

The bottom line is facial cupping promotes circulation, which may help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, decrease puffiness, and more!

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