24/10/2018 · 5 min read
How to use a Cupping Set at Home
Cupping therapy is most often done in a practice by a professional acupuncturist or other alternative health therapist. But if you get a feel for it, those sessions can become pretty pricey.
Unlike acupuncture though, cupping therapy is something you can also do it home.
The benefits of regular cupping therapy
Cupping therapy is a type of deep tissue massage (although it lifts rather than compresses). It can help to increase blood flow and aid lymphatic drainage in the area. This in turn promotes muscle recovery and offers a great feeling of relaxation too.
Cupping can be done on most parts of the body but it usually performed on large muscle groups where you might be holding tension or on the face for a gentle massage. If you want to try cupping on your back at home, you might need a friend or family member to help you reach there though!
You can read more about the benefits of cupping in our Beginner’s Guide to Cupping.
How to use a cupping set at home
Our Meridius cupping set contains a variety of cup sizes to make it suitable for all areas of the body and we use high-strength poly-carbonate to ensure that the cups are easy to sterilise and don’t break – even if you drop them!
Because our cups are shaped to fit the contours of your body, it’s considerably easier to get them to sit comfortably. This combines with a silicone seal that allows for suction to be effective.
Simply place the cup onto the area you wish to treat, attach the tube and draw air out gently using the handle. The reduction in air creates low pressure that will draw the skin and muscles up slightly into the cup.
TIP: It’s important to not remove too much air as this can cause skin damage and prevent the cup from being easily removed. The point of cupping is to gently pull the skin and muscle up, not to create a violent movement and cause damage.
Here’s a great YouTube tutorial showing the gentleness of cupping:
Where to place cups
The placement of cups isn’t random and is, in fact, based on acu-points. You can find charts online or use cupping books to find out more about specific placements for treating more complex ailments than muscular tension.
Skin should be cleaned and have oil or lotion applied before the cups go on. This offers a smoother seal for the cup and helps prevent discomfort. It also allows the cups to move if you want to try dynamic cupping motions.
Never use cupping on open wounds, sites of serious trauma, on abdomen during pregnancy or while using blood-thinning medicine. If you have doubts, it’s best to see a professional cupping therapist for a consultation first.
How long to leave cups on skin
The longer cups stay on the skin, the more obvious any marks will be in most cases. Cupping is usually performed for 5-10 minutes but can be left for up to 15 minutes. It very much depends on the person, the strength of the suction and the area.
How to use cupping safely
Although cupping is used by professionals as part of injury treatment plans, it takes specialist knowledge to know exactly when it’s safe to use cupping as a therapy.
Generally speaking, if you’re cupping at home, you should only use it as a therapy when you’re in full health. It’s best to use home cupping treatments for the relief of muscle tension and leave more complex treatment plans up to professionals.
There are some medications that can make cupping risky and health conditions that make it a no no. If in doubt, check with your doctor or acupuncturist first.
Getting your own cupping set
Cupping sets for home use are becoming more popular now and there is a wide range to choose from. They largely break into three materials – squeezy plastic, glass and poly-carbonate.
Glass – glass is a common material for cupping sets but it has downsides. Fundamentally, glass breaks. Even the slightest chip can mean that you need a replacement cup. Glass can also be quite weighty.
Squeezy plastic – lots of cupping sets are made out of squeezy plastic. This is because it’s cheap and lightweight and in order to create suction, you just need to squeeze and release. The downside to this is that the plastic fatigues when squeezed and will eventually weaken. In addition, there is very little control over how much suction you can create.
Poly-carbonate – the higher-grade cupping sets are made from high strength poly-carbonate, a material that is strong but won’t shatter if dropped. Our poly-carbonate cupping set comes with silicone valves for complete control over the level of suction.