If you’re looking for a way to relieve your back pain that doesn’t involve toxic pharmaceutical drugs, cupping therapy may be the perfect solution for you. Cupping is a centuries-old practice; ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Greeks used cupping as a way to treat a variety of ailments, including pain and inflammation.
The benefits of cupping are well-documented, and one of the most notable benefits is pain reduction. In fact, athletes and celebrities tout the benefits, and even more importantly, holistic, natural healers highly recommend it and use this type of therapy with their patients. If you’re thinking about scheduling a cupping massage to alleviate your back pain, to get the most out of your experience, read on to learn some things that you should avoid doing once your session is complete.
What is back cupping?
First, let’s review what cupping is. This alternative form of natural healing, as mentioned, has been used for centuries; in fact, it’s considered one of the most ancient forms of treatment, and it’s been used as a remedy for many ailments over the years, including, over course, back pain.
In ancient times, hollowed out animal bones were used to practice cupping therapy. Today, however, the bones have been replaced with cups that are made of glass, bamboo, or earthenware, like porcelain. The cups are filled with a flammable materials, such as herbs, essential oils, or paper. The material is ignited and blown out to heat the cups, and the cups are then applied to specific points on the back where the pain is present; for example, optic nerve cupping, lower back cupping, upper back cupping, etc. The heat from the cups applies negative pressure, which creates a suction-like effect that pulls the skin up into the cup. The pressure from the suction not only separates the skin from the bones, but it also separates the underlying tissues and connective muscles. This releases toxins that have gotten trapped within the muscles and tissues, gets stagnant blood moving, and increases circulation.
A large body of scientific research has revealed that cupping therapy is one of the best pain relief methods. It can also be used to treat conditions like herpes zoster (shingles) and other inflammatory conditions. Of course, it can also help to alleviate the back pain that you’ve been experiencing, as well as any inflammation.
Things to Avoid After a Back Cupping Massage
If you’re planning on having a cupping massage, there’s no doubt that you want to make the most of your experience, and that includes knowing what you should avoid after your session. With that said, here’s a look at some handy tips to keep in mind post-cupping therapy.
Don’t take a shower right away
While it may be tempting to take a shower immediately after a cupping session – especially if oil was used or if you had wet cupping performed – it’s best to avoid one. In fact, your cupping therapist will probably tell you to avoid taking a shower right after your session. The reason? – Your pores will be opened for a few hours after the cups are removed, and exposure to hot water and soap could lead to damage or infection. As such, waiting a few hours – 3 to 4, ideally – is highly recommended.
Staying hydrated is always important, but it’s even more important after a cupping therapy session. Make sure that you drink plenty of water once your session is over, as it will help to ensure that the toxins and stagnations that were extracted during the session are flushed out. If you get dehydrated after your session, the detoxification and de-stagnation effects of cupping won’t be as effective as you had hoped.
Doing strenuous activities
Everyone reacts differently to cupping therapy; some may feel sleep and want to take a nap, while others might feel a rush of energy. Even if you’re in the latter group, however, taking it easy post-cupping is strongly encouraged, as intense activity, like vigorous exercise, may prevent your body from making a full recovery and reaping the benefits that cupping provides.
Wearing synthetic fabrics
Cupping therapy places a great deal of stress on the skin, as well as the superficial layers of muscles that are located underneath it. For that reason, the skin can become extremely vulnerable to irritation, damage, and infection post-session. As such, wearing synthetic materials, like polyester or rayon, should be avoided. Instead, wearing loose cotton fabrics is recommended to ensure that your skin doesn’t get irritated.
Not getting rest
Your body begins the process of flushing out toxins when you’re sleeping, which is why it’s always important that you get enough sleep each and every day. With that said, staying up late should be avoided. As a matter of fact, there’s a good chance that your cupping therapist will encourage you to take a nap after your session once you get home.
While staying hydrated is important for flushing out toxins, but food is also an important part of the recovery process post-cupping. With that said, however, you should avoid eating too much food. Over-eating can pose several issues, and in fact, it can end up doing you more harm than good. If you’re too full, your energy will be directed toward digestion instead of toward the recovery that your body needs from cupping. Additionally, there are certain types of food that you should avoid eating, like meat, dairy, sugars, and foods that have a high fat content.
Deep massage or acupuncture
While it’s true that acupuncture can be used in combination with cupping; however, unless your cupping session involved acupuncture, you should avoid it afterwards. Additionally, you should also avoid deep tissue massages. Cupping therapy on its own mimics the effects of deep tissue massage, therefore, if you were to have an additional deep tissue massage post-cupping, you could end up damaging your muscles and may end up being in pain.
You should also avoid drinking alcohol after your cupping session. Doing so could compromise the recovery process and lead to the build-up of more toxins.