A few years back, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps showed up to the Olympic Games with circular bruises on his back from cupping.
Cupping is the ancient practice of applying small suction cups to various areas of your body and moving the cups around.
While the practice has been done for centuries, it’s only recently become more mainstream thanks to Phelps and other athletes or celebrities. There are some differences between facial cupping and body cupping, such as smallness and softness of the cups.
What Does Body Cupping Do?
Body cupping is a great natural therapy alternative to over-the-counter medicines and prescription opiates. In athletes, the practice is typically used for managing chronic pain and easing sore muscles.
Suction cups are attached to the skin and moved around in different directions. This pressure and suction encourages blood flow and loosens muscles.
It can be used as a treatment for high blood pressure, neck pain, migraines and other general aches and pains.
With body cupping, marks like the ones spotted on Michael Phelps are often left on the skin after the cups are moved. The size, shape and color are used as for future diagnostics, as they show how stagnated the cellular buildup is in the patient. As your system processes the cellular waste, the marks fade.
What Does Facial Cupping Do?
Like body cupping, the suction cups stimulate blood circulation in your skin. This promotes cell repair and regeneration by gently pulling the skin into a vacuum-like seal. This pressure increases blood flow.
Unlike body cupping, facial cupping doesn’t leave marks because the cups used are much, much smaller and the method is gentler.
The suction of the cups pulls more blood underneath the skin where the cup has been placed. The fresh blood results in new blood vessel formations, leaving skin luminous.
The suction of the cups creates microtrauma to the tissue. An inflammatory response is triggered, which results in white blood cells and platelets to bombard the area with healing particles. You’re basically hurting the tissue under your skin to make it heal itself, which in turn makes your skin look smoother and younger.
Although the practice was originated in ancient Egypt, the Chinese method of cupping is supposed to improve your “Qi,” which is Chinese saying that means your life force. It’s pronounced as “chee.”
What are the Benefits of Facial Cupping?
Aside from the benefit of strengthening your Qi, facial cupping offers many internet benefits to your overall health. It also benefits your physical appearance, which is the main reason people participate in the practice of facial cupping.
Some of the benefits include:
Increase oxygen-rich blood circulation
Increased blood circulation makes the muscles stronger and the heart by encouraging blood flow through the arteries.
Strengthen skin and connective tissues
Strengthening the skin of the face promotes a younger, tauter appearance
Stimulate cells responsible for collagen production
Collagen promotes a glowing appearance in the face
Relax muscle tension
Tense muscles in your neck or head can trigger migraines and other painful problems. Facial cupping helps reduce this disrupting tension
Brightens and smoothes skin
Brighter skin gives one the appearance of youth
Minimize the appearance of scars, fine lines, and wrinkles
Wrinkle and laugh lines show up in the face as we age. Face cupping can help make them less noticeable
Tone chin, jawline, neck, and décolletage
Forget the facelift or liposuction. Try face cupping before undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Faces can appear puffy from the food we eat and drink, lack of sleep and any number of other reasons. Face upping can help reduce the puffiness.
Regulate oil production
Excess oil production can cause acne and other skin problems
The numerous benefits of facial cupping far outweigh any discomfort of the procedure.
Is Facial Cupping Painful?
The answer to this depends on the level of your pain tolerance. It is a different sensation that other people can find uncomfortable at first, but the cups shouldn’t cause unbearable pain.
The suction causes a pulling at the skin, which results in a tight feeling in the skin directly under the cups. If you’ve ever put a vacuum hose in your palm, it’s an intense feeling like that. After the first few minutes, many patients actually enjoy the endorphin rush once they’ve adjusted to the sensation.
Painful? Probably not. Uncomfortable? Likely.
Does it Leave Bruises?
The marks of body coping can look like bruises, even though they aren’t. If the facial cupping leaves any marks at all, they are much less drastic and noticeable than the marks from body cupping.
Bruising is the result of capillaries under the skin breaking, usually from impact trauma. The cupping isn’t an impact trauma. Rather, any marks left from cupping are the internal toxins being pulled up to the surface of the skin.
Basically, the more marks you have, the more the treatment is working.
How Long Do the Marks Last?
As with whether the face cupping causes pain, how long the marks last varies for each person. They can last anywhere from one hour for up to three weeks. If the marks are deeper in color, they will last longer on the skin. Deeper colors indicate more toxins in the body, possibly from a chronic or severe issue.
In your first few facial cupping treatments, you may notice marks because you’ve only just begun the treatment. The more frequently you have the treatments, the fewer toxins you will have and fewer marks.
What are the Side Effects of Facial Cupping?
As with any treatment, there are bound to be a few side effects.
Some of the side effects from facial cupping can include:
Resting after your facial cupping appointment and drinking water can help prevent these side effects. If your side effects are severe or don’t diminish, you might want to see a doctor.
How Often Should you Do Facial Cupping?
Many providers of facial cupping recommend one session per week for ten weeks and then reduce the appointments to once a month. The purpose of facial and body cupping is to reduce the toxins in the body.
With weekly appointments, you will quickly remove the harmful toxins and will only need occasional maintenance appointments.
What Should I Do After a Facial Cupping Session?
Once your facial cupping session is complete, you can resume your regular activities, including driving. While there aren’t any activity restrictions, there are suggestions on how to make your face heal after each session:
If you notice marks from the facial cupping, massage them for two minutes daily until they are no longer visible.
Reduce dairy products for 24 hours
Rest for 10 to 15 minutes after you get home
Rub olive oil over cupped areas to promote healing
Eat more fruits and veggies
Drink water or juices
Take two Tylenol or Advil if needed
Avoid alcohol and other toxins for 48 hours
Take it easy
If you have minor redness or irritation on your face after the cupping session, do not despair. That is normal and will go away on its own in a few hours.
Before Your Session
There are a few things you can do prior to your appointment to make things easier for yourself:
Eat something – the aforementioned dizziness or nausea is usually caused by an empty stomach.
Apply oil to your face to help reduce the cup marks.
Plan sessions around social gatherings. Discoloration and marks can last up to 3 weeks.
Bring a scarf if you plan to get cupping on the neck and want to cover any marks.
Don’t drink alcohol – alcohol is one of the toxins you want to the facial cupping to remove. Why add more work for your body?
At-Home Facial Cupping
While it is strongly recommended that you see a professional for your first facial cupping appointment, you can purchase DIY kits for home use. This is a great option if you live in an area where face cupping hasn’t become popular yet or live in an expensive area like New York City.
The kits should include instructions, but here is an overview of the at-home facial cupping process:
Wash your face and pat dry.
Apply a light face oil to decrease marks
Start the session with small cups at your chin and mouth area.
Change to larger cups when you get to large areas, such as your forehead
When you’ve cupped all areas, remove the cups
Wash your face again and pat dry
Process with your at-home beauty routine, as cupping increases product absorption
Repeat the facial cupping session once a week
Many modern medicine and beauty regimens can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of the Greek or Egyptians. Each civilization adds its own culture to the regimen and passes it on to the next generation.
Facial cupping and its benefits may be new to the masses, but it’s been around long enough for us to know that vanity among women can be traced back thousands of years.