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Cupping Massage Therapy

The Canada Games Aquatic Centre is home to the Healthy Touch Massage Clinic, which offers both traditional massage therapy and cupping therapy. We have received a few questions, concerns and comments about our use of cupping therapy and wanted to provide more information for our members and community on the topic!

Cupping therapy is one of the many therapeutic modalities that can be used to treat muscle pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel system and more. Cupping therapy has ties to Egyptian and Oriental early medicines, and has various forms. The Healthy Touch Massage clinic uses dry cupping, which uses suction to create low air pressure within the cups to help increase blood pressure at the targeted area. We use hand held air pumps to create the desired level of suction requested by our clients. The cups can be applied all over the body, but are most commonly used along the shoulder blades, lower back, and upper arms to help relieve sore muscles. 

A common concern side effect of cupping that can be alarming to those unfamiliar with the practice is the large hematomas, or circular bruises, created by the suction of these cups. Depending upon the pressure applied, these can be faint bruises that fade within minutes, or dark purple bruises that take a few days to clear. The amount of pressure applied during cupping is based upon the clients request, and overseen by our Registered Massage Therapists. Cupping Massage b ya Registered Massage Therapist is included in the scope of practice outlined by the College of Massage Therapist of New Brunswick, each of our Registered Massage Therapists is trained within the technique. 

The use of cupping therapy has become more widely researched and documented after the 2017 Rio Olympics. Michael Phelps was the most notable athlete to sport the circular purple bruises caused by cupping massage therapy, which is another form of dry cupping therapy, versus wet cupping therapy. Modern day research has examined the therapeutic effects of dry cupping through changes in blood pressure, skin surface temperature, thermal effects, under skin blood flow, and pain indexes. Recently Near-infrared spectroscopy has been used to detect changes in hemoglobin as caused by cupping therapy. One such study noted that dry cupping therapy was effective in reducing shoulder pain, and examined the flow of blood to and from the cupped area, as well as the increase in oxygen to the affected area. 


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