Before the 2016 Summer Olympics, many of us in the U.S. had never heard of cupping. We learned that swimming champion Michael Phelps received regular cupping sessions as part of his performance and recovery regimen. Some benefits of cupping include a decrease in muscular tension and inflammation and promotion of cellular repair after working out, which decreases recovery time after undergoing strenuous training. In addition, cupping improves lymph flow, decreases pain and restriction of movement, releases and softens scar tissue and adhesions, and sedates the nervous system.
But cupping isn’t just for athletes and is not limited to the body. Facial cupping has become the hottest new trend in anti-aging. Jennifer Aniston, Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, Eva Mendes, and Kim Kardashian are just a few Hollywood celebrities who have embraced regular facial cupping sessions as an important part of their anti-aging routines.
Benefits of Facial Cupping
Cupping (and facial cupping) has been in use since 3000 BC in Egypt. Since then, women in Europe and Asia have been using cupping to improve the health and appearance of their skin—and for good reason. There are a myriad of benefits to taking advantage of this all-natural treatment. Facial cupping is essentially a natural face-lift that rejuvenates the skin. The gentle suction of the cups saturates the tissue with fresh, oxygenated, nutrient-dense blood, draining lymph fluid from the face and neck and thereby reducing local inflammation and congestion. The constant movement of the cups on the skin stimulates cells responsible for producing collagen, which is a vital skin protein that decreases with age. Results include:
- tighter, firmer skin
- reduced puffiness and swelling
- brighter, glowing complexion
- toned chin, jawline, neck, and décolletage
- diminished fine lines and wrinkles
- decreased muscle tension
- reduction/elimination of sinus headaches
- minimized appearance of scars
- enhanced absorption of facial products
The Process of Facial Cupping
What happens during a facial cupping session? First, the face, neck, and décolletage are cleansed and oil is then applied. I prefer to use the Medicupping vacuum therapy machine since it provides a more consistent amount of suction and is therefore much easier to control than using the manual facial cups. Tiny glass cups specifically designed for treatment of the face are used to gently lift the delicate tissue. The suction is very light and relaxing and since the cups are constantly moving, red or purple cupping marks will not appear. It is important to find a massage therapist who has been trained in proper cupping usage, safety, and techniques through an in-person/hands-on course and who is certified in facial cupping. Additionally, facial cupping should not be performed on sunburned skin and is not recommended for pregnant women. If you have received Botox Cosmetic or a dermal filler, it is recommended to wait a few months before receiving facial cupping since it is possible for the product to migrate to other areas of the face.
You will notice a difference in your skin after the very first session; however, regular sessions will produce a cumulative result—with every session, you will notice an improvement in skin texture and diminished lines and wrinkles. The recommended protocol is a series of facial cupping treatments twice a week for four to six weeks. Afterward, maintenance sessions are recommended either once or twice per month, depending on the individual’s skin.
Cupping as a Safer Alternative
Today, some popular choices for improving the appearance of skin come with their own side effects and risks. There are always risks involved with any surgery, and surgical face lifts can produce a drastic and unrealistic result. Although Botox Cosmetic injections are considered to be relatively safe, minor short-term side effects are possible. These may include pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site, headache, fever, and chills. Injections in the eye area may cause dry eyes and excessive tearing. According to the FDA, “BOTOX Cosmetic may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening, including: problems breathing or swallowing. In some cases, the effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas of the body away from the injection site and cause symptoms of a serious condition called botulism, including loss of strength and muscle weakness all over the body, double vision, blurred vision, and droopy eyelids.”
Injections of dermal fillers also pose some risks. The most common side effects include bruising, redness, swelling, pain, and itching. Chemical peels usually result in redness of the treated skin, which can potentially last for a few weeks. Swelling after a laser skin resurfacing treatment is normal, and sometimes steroids are prescribed. Itching, stinging, skin dryness and peeling are typical. Skin redness usually fades within a few weeks.
In contrast, facial cupping is clearly the safe, healthy, natural alternative. There is no bruising, redness, pain, downtime, or other side effects or risks, and it does not involve knives or injections of synthetic materials. Not only does facial cupping reduce the signs of aging—it is actually healthy for you and is very relaxing.
Kristina Mozzicato is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork by the NCBTMB. A 2009 graduate of the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, she is also certified in Cupping, Facial Cupping, and ACE MediCupping™. Kristina is the owner of Abundant Health Massage Therapy & Wellness in Farmington, CT and was named a Natural Nutmeg Magazine 10Best Award recipient in the category of Massage and Bodywork.
For more information and convenient online booking, please visit: www.abundanthealthct.com.