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Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy used for healing, where glass cups are applied to the skin via suction. This method is said to help blood flow and can be used to relieve pain, tension and stress or to ‘draw out’ illness such as the common cold, asthma, headaches etc. The cups can be left in a static position or gently moved (feeling like a deep massage) along the oiled surface of the skin. 


As the cups are applied the skin and connective tissue is drawn upwards, so it can therefore help to separate stuck or adhered tissue. Cupping has a similar effect to Gua Sha on the tissue - especially the fascia. It can leave markings, similar to bruising, on tissue, but overall is very relaxing.


Cupping is increasing in recognition and popularity, with celebrities, pop stars and sports people using the therapy to support muscle recovery.


Gua Sha is another ancient Eastern healing medicine, which it is believed has been around for many generations. The aim of Gua Sha is to improve blood flow through the subcutis layer of skin, to remove blood ‘stagnation’. The therapy involves using a shaped stone, roller or other instrument to apply pressure to lightly oiled skin in sweeping movements. Sometimes it can be referred to as ‘spooning’ or ‘coining’. Gua Sha can be used to help relieve symptoms of colds, flu and other pain issues.


Modern research shows Gua sha produces an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single Gua sha treatment. This accounts for its effect on pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, wheeze, nausea and vomiting etc., and why Gua sha is effective in acute and chronic internal organ disorders including liver inflammation in hepatitis. 

Like cupping, Gua Sha can leave a temporary discolouration of the skin. In Gua Sha it is said that the darker the colour, the older the imbalance and the lighter it is, the newer the problem and the energy or Qi is less stuck. 


Many Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and other Western Medical Therapists are offering a similar therapy called ‘Graston Technique.’ Both techniques have numerous benefits and are very similar - except Gua Sha is the truly ancient technique. As with other traditional Chinese therapies, Gua Sha can feel deeply calming and relaxing.

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