I decided to try fire cupping on the weekend since my neck and upper traps have been sore for the last few weeks, since I have been doing a lot of overhead training ie clean & jerk and snatch. The thought of placing hot fire cups on my back seemed interesting, but it looked agonizing that I never went through with it.
This traditional Chinese medicine modality has been around for thousands of years. It is opposite of a regular massage, instead of applying pressure inwards, it is pulling the skin, tissue, and muscles upwards. This is done by lighting a cotton ball on fire, heating up the cup with the cotton ball, then administering it onto the skin. The fire removes the oxygen from the cup, which creates the skin to be suctioned up. It is similar to a deep tissue massage.
At first I was really nervous to get it done as I saw the practitioner light the cotton pad on fire, I felt my heart sink into my stomach. But as soon as she placed the cups on my back it wasn’t as unpleasant as I had imagined. It felt like a hot vacuum pulling on my muscles. When the cups were placed around my neck and upper traps it was pretty painful, I had to tell the practitioner to remove the cups and not create so much suction. She mentioned since it was my first time using cupping she wasn’t going to go as deep so it wouldn’t be as uncomfortable. Since my neck and upper traps where my “problem area” even minimal suction was difficult to handle.
The health benefits associated with cupping is to enhance circulation & blood flow, pull out toxins from the body and assist with healing. My back was lose and relaxed after, I felt a natural high and outlet of energy. The next day I was little sore but my neck and upper traps felt really amazing!
I am going to go every 10 days for the next few months and see if my back and neck start to feel better after each treatment. The only thing is, you have red and purple marks all over your back for the next 3-7 days depending how deep the practitioner goes and how your body reacts. So if you have a social event make sure you wear an outfit that is not backless, thank goodness its cold outside!