Sometimes I am incredibly impressionable. In fact, I am a marketer’s dream. Sparkly? I need it. It has a shoe on it? I need that too. What can I say? Sometimes I’m a leader and sometimes I’m a follower. It happens to the best of us. I like to think that’s what makes me a good stylist and researcher. I enjoy putting myself in other people’s minds and situations and finding their motivation and rationale. But, every once in a while, I get so caught up in trends and wanting to try new things during said research. Consequently, that’s how I ended up at my first cupping appointment.
What is cupping? Cupping is a therapy practice based out of China that started over 5,000 years ago. During a cupping treatment, your muscles are actually pulled into the cups to help not only separate and relieve your muscles, but to also separate and release stagnant and “dead” energy.
What motivated me to try cupping? First and foremost, I am a huge fan of wellness and alternative therapies. Now, I’m not talking about crazy sketchy things, or replacing hospital ER visits with snake venom or anything like that. Western medicine is here for a reason. And I am thankful for that. But, I do think we can help improve our overall health through things like massage, more exercise, less sugar, and a healthy diet. So any time I have the opportunity to try a new wellness practice like Whole30, juicing, yoga, hair skin and nail vitamins, and even cupping, I’m all in. Plus, the practice and practitioner I visited came so highly regarded by a couple of girlfriends that I just couldn’t resist.
Upon arriving at my first cupping appointment at Magnolia Wellness, Donna spoke with me about the conditions I had circled on my intake form. I believe her exact words were “I see you have circled a lot of things here, we should probably start with that.” What all did I circle, you ask? Surely, as women, most of you (sorry guys) will understand most of my circles. PMS, Insomnia, Mood Swings, Cramps, Headaches, Chocolate Cravings. Just kidding – that last one wasn’t a choice. As you can tell, most of the things I circled are a byproduct of being a working woman in my 30s. Along with those, there were others like “Cold Hands And Feet” and “Anxiety”.
Now, if you’re not a fan of Eastern medicine and find it hokey or super weird, this is where I’m probably going to lose you. But for those of you who are interested let’s move on…
As we reviewed all of the things I circled, Donna noted almost all of the things I circled had to do with my lungs and kidneys. At one point, she said she could tell by the way I speak that I don’t breathe. Ever. (Although she probably could have guessed that by the sheer number of circles on my sheet.) Next, she revealed that I struggle with fear and letting go of grief. She even asked if she could guess where I feel the most pain and started pointing to places on my body. She nailed every single one. How in the world does she know these things? Long story short, she was so right and I was in tears before we even finished talking.
Next, I laid on a massage table while Donna applied the most amazing scented oil to my back. Then came the cups. At first, I was afraid I was a cupping failure, as my muscles were so tight they just kept popping off. However, by starting the cups in other places, Donna was able to work her magic. Despite all of my nerves and worry, the appointment was quite painless. There were a few that I definitely felt, but never to the point of asking for the cups to be removed.
Throughout the remainder of my cupping appointment, Donna used a little jade stone (called a gua sha tool) to “clear out” my energy pathways. Hearing Donna discuss what each pathway meant and why some hurt more than others was fascinating. The “road rash” or “strawberry” on my left shoulder (pictured above) was a product of the gua sha. As was the bruise on my wrist. (Pictured below.)
Now, the weirdest part of my cupping journey was the way my body processed the treatment. Donna advised I lay low for the rest of the day and maybe even watch a sad movie, as I would probably spend a lot of time crying. Upon arriving home, I snuggled up with Mila and watched the movie Coco. Slowly I started to tear up here and there and then just began absolutely sobbing. For like an hour. During a Pixar movie. What a mess. Thanks a lot buried but recently uncovered grief.
Overall, cupping was an amazing experience. I have never in my life felt so light and free. I have already seen a difference in my breathing and my overall attitude. The world seems more manageable and my vision seems clearer. Plus the bruises weren’t nearly as bad as I was anticipating. I can’t wait to see Donna again.
Have you tried cupping? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!
**Just a reminder – I am NOT a doctor or medical professional of any sort. This post is a reflection of my thoughts, feeling, and experience, and should not be taken as medical advice or opinion.
Donna and Magnolia Wellness can be found here.
Looking for a practitioner in your area? According to Donna: Make sure you find a licensed acupuncturist (LAc) who got their Masters degree from acupuncture school. This may vary from state to state, but the most common are MAOM and MSOM. For my friends in Florida, it’s an AP. =)