Lately, I have been exploring cupping therapy. A colleague of mine, Amber Clark, owns Cupping Dynamix in Bend, Or. and offers workshops to teach other LMT's all about cupping. She suggested that I try cupping to help break up scar tissue/access fascia, increase ROM, circulation and lymphatic drainage-even years later! She says other benefits include:
Can cupping therapy help your c-section scar? I am always intrigue by bodywork and it's ability to facilitate healing. After my unplanned c-section 13 years ago, I turned to acupuncture, naturopathy and body work to help heal and recover. I was surprised to find my scar still "angry" even months postpartum and to this day I periodically check to ensure sure there is no numbness or inability to recruit my core properly when moving and exercising throughout my day.
Mind Body Green describes cupping as "The inverse of massage. Rather than applying pressure to muscles, the suction uses pressure to pull skin, tissue and muscles upward. I often combine cupping with acupuncture into one treatment, but it could also be used alone.
Cupping was developed thousands of years ago and though the techniques have modernized, the original philosophy remains the same.
Cupping involves placing glass, bamboo or plastic jars on the skin and creating a vacuum by suctioning out the air. The underlying tissue is raised, or sucked, partway into the cup. The purpose of cupping is to enhance circulation, help relieve pain, remove "heat" and pull out the toxins that linger in your body's tissues.
You usually will feel a tight sensation in the area of the cup. Often, this sensation is relaxing and soothing. Depending on your comfort and your practitioner's assessment of the problem, cups may be moved around or left in place. They may remain on your body briefly or for longer amounts of time. Each treatment is unique to you on that particular day. One very common area to be cupped is the back, although cups work well on other areas, too — particularly on fleshy sections of the body.It can actually reduce the scar tissue to a small fraction of the original scar. It changes the tissue look and feel over time. And also helps to eliminate and alleviate stretch marks in the low belly."
We sat down with Amber Clark for a CUPPING 101 discussion with an emphasis on c-section scars and postpartum women. Read on to see what she has to say!
Aside from the surgical scar, many patients experience a swollen sac at the base of the belly. Cupping therapy can eliminate that also.
Someone who is trained in cupping scar therapy can start this kind of treatment as early as the 12th week, post-partum, for a patient. It takes some time to see significant changes, anywhere from 6-16 weeks, depending on how often treatment occurs and how close together you receive those treatments.
I recommend 1-2 times/week for a couple of months to start, and see how things have progressed, to access if additional treatment might be needed.
I like to use clear silicone cups at home, and I keep them in my first aid kit as well. They are the easiest to keep clean, the easiest to learn to use, the least dangerous, because you really can't get them too tight, and the most convenient, by far. Get a range of sizes and experiment with them. Different sizes are appropriate for different parts of the body. The medium couple of sizes are the best for belly work, like for a C-section scar. You can find them at www.lhasaoms.com. Fire Cupping is recommended only by a licensed practitioner.
You never want to do cupping to loo long or too strong postpartum. It can be too draining for Mom! Keep it to 10 min or less, and keep the suction amount low to medium low. Also, it's good to keep the cups moving over scars, and never let them sit stationary.
Before you try this at home, go and see a licensed practitioner who has specific training with this, and knows what they are doing. That way, they can show you, and teach you personally any precautions you specifically might need to take in your own case, if you want to continue the treatments at home!
I tried this with a 1" silicone cup for 10 minutes 3 x in one week. I noticed that adhesions broke up, my scar became "less tight" and I could feel a release, almost unwinding all the way from my psoas down to my toes!
So whether you are recovering from an injuring, stretch marks, major abdominal surgery or are an athlete looking to enhance ROM and performance, cupping may be an option for you!