If you’re watching the news lately or the Olympics, there’s a lot of attention on Michael Phelps and other olympians and their “purple spots”. If you didn’t know by now, it’s due to an ancient Chinese medicine procedure called Cupping. I wrote an entire post on cupping and the benefits of it, the downside of it, and how it works. Now I am writing a post on my own personal cupping experience so you can read about it firsthand and not just what articles tell you to expect.
If you want to read my post on “What you should know about cupping” first then feel free to do so… otherwise I will start to describe my experience.
My Cupping Experience
If you didn’t know by now, besides being a health and wellness coach I teach yoga. I work at a place that does yoga, massage, acupuncture and more. Along with those services, they offer cupping, reflexology and Gua Sha.
On Sunday my back started having bad spasms. By Sunday evening I had back pain so bad it hurt to even take a step. Monday I was in so much back pain it was just annoying at that point. I taught three yoga classes despite the pain (I love yoga and won’t let it stop me from teaching others since I don’t need to be on my mat the whole time). After yoga I decided to try cupping because my coworker suggested it, not because Olympians do it! It had slipped my mind that cupping would help. It just so happened when I got home that night I found out that it was all on the news about Michael Phelps and the cupping. Dang it Phelps, making it look like I’m some follower. Bah, well anyway, I did the treatment because I needed it.
I went into a nice dim lit room, laid on the soft sheets on the massage table. Listened to the soft music play. My acupuncturist had already seen me before but we went over my history briefly and then talked about my back pain. As I was lying on my stomach before I knew it the cups were placed on my skin and I heard a cute little “cup cup cup” “or gulp gulp gulp” sound… almost as if the cup was gulping my skin up like it was thirsty. I had no idea how many were on me. It didn’t hurt at all. It felt kind of cool. I relaxed and sunk into the table and pictured my back feeling better, and hoped it would from the cupping.
After a few minutes (it goes by quick) she shifted the cups. Some were glided over my skin and placed in another area, a few cups were re-suctioned in new places. As the cups sat in the new area, I settled in.
Before I knew it, it was time for the cups to come off. I then got a few acupuncture needs in my back as well. I relaxed deeper and got into a meditative space. After about 10-20 minutes she removed the needles and I was free to go. I got up and was seriously impressed at how all my back pain was gone! It felt as if I never even had the pain. I was really happy about this. She told me to drink plenty of water and to avoid the gym/sauna or places that might leave my skin exposed to infection.
By the time I got home I still felt fine. I took a little rest (since I’d been up since 4:30am) and went about the day. For some odd reason by 7 or 8pm (treatment was at 10am) I started having massive headaches and a really bad neck ache. I do want to mention that I have cervical spondylosis so I started to worry that the cupping may have irritated my neck. I did my best to rest my neck and took three natural herbal analgesic capsules to help me with the pain. By the time I went to bed at 10:30 it still hurt so I slept on a folded towel instead of a pillow (I LOVE folded towels for neck pain! I can’t do too puffy of a pillow).
I slept pretty hard and had some crazy dreams during the night. Unfortunately I started to feel stuffy and chest congested in the middle of the night. I woke feeling crappy. Part of me feared I was coming down with a cold.
Then I realized maybe it was just junk in my system clearing up and out… maybe the treatment helped with toxin release? I messaged my acupuncturist about my symptoms and how I felt. I didn’t mention I what I thought about releasing toxins, and she actually brought it up! Phew! My instincts were right but I guess I just needed to hear it from her to be sure this was normal. Now that doesn’t happen to everyone so don’t let my experience freak you out!
Now today, two days after cupping I feel amazing. I drank lots of water after treatment, drank a ton more yesterday, and am continuing to flush my system. Every day I also make a manuka honey lemon apple cider vinegar water to drink; I call it “Mauka Honey Lemonade”.
What Cupping Spots Look Like
My purple spots were not terrible by any means. In fact, different results can occur all over the back. Some people may have light bruising, others have dark bruising, and there are also other things to watch for. Each reaction has a different meaning.
My Photos of Cupping
Cupping Reaction Chart
It appears I had healthy blood circulation and moderate stagnation, which makes me feel pretty good since I do my best to live such a healthy lifestyle. Now on day three things are looking better and I still feel good. Just remember to keep up on drinking water if you have a treatment. Also remember to read my post on “What you should know about cupping” if you do want to try it yourself sometime. Hope you enjoyed reading about my personal experience with cupping.