Cupping Therapy Case study
Learn how cupping therapy works
Initial Client Consultation – Client presenting with constant dull ache in right shoulder. Prior to session I had the client (currently under my care for holistic lifestyle coaching) fill out a health appraisal questionnaire (HAQ) which detailed any previous injury, treatments received, significant stressors – past & present as well as a nutritional overview.
Emotional Factors for cupping requirements – Client’s answers indicated additional physiological issues as sudden weight gain and pain in mid/lower back focused around liver. Current & ongoing mental/emotional challenges were revealed to be focused around the loss of an uncle at a very young age and previous abusive relationship with a controlling boyfriend. Client also noted uncontrollable emotional outbursts at work in the form of crying whenever given positive attention/feedback which would require her to leave meetings to compose herself.
While Miss S initially wanted cupping therapy to help with the physical pain I explained (with the chart produced by the HAQ form) that her issue was almost 100% emotionally driven. In TCM & other energy practices, anger is believed to be stored in the liver & Miss S has shown on different occasions that her feeling of helplessness over past events has left her ‘bitter with life in general’. I advised on the fascial link between the liver & R shoulder to explain how an issue in one of these areas can directly affect the other. Finally, from previous coaching sessions with Miss S I am aware of an imbalance of energy around her 3rd chakra. Physically this correlates with her potential organ dysfunction in the liver & digestive/elimination systems as well as emotionally correlating with her issues around feelings of shame/anger.
*Miss S advised she has not received cupping therapy before, however has received psychotherapy through work in the past.
Client is in relatively good shape though feels a lack of energy most days. Diet is poor & does not contain enough water. Miss S self-assessed her overall commitment level to following advised protocol, as well as the belief that she can change, at 7/10.
Cupping Treatment Preparation
Given the emotional nature of this case I performed the same ‘cleansing ceremony’ for the room that I would do before a reiki treatment.
I further added to building yin energy & improving positive energy flow in the room by lighting sandalwood incense, playing low volume reiki music and turning off the lights, only using a Himalayan salt lamp to illuminate the room.
I had Miss S verify and sign a form that confirmed there were no contraindications to her receiving treatment before the session (pregnancy, breastfeeding, fractured bones, hemophilia etc) & advised her against heavy eating, sauna’s & hot showers for the next 24 hours.
For my own preparation I performed the reiki cleanse on myself, wore bright colours & ensured my cups were sterilized.
Cupping consultation overview
I used the dry cupping method but with a light amount of olive oil followed by deep tissue massage to move stagnant blood to the lymph nodes & aid circulation as well as qi flow through the system following the main treatment. The treatment used a cupping set that has a pump to create the vacuum so I did not need to take any preparations for using alcohol or an open flame. The cupping level was light-medium as Miss S had not had treatment before.
For the initial cupping I used the parking method on sites 1, 55, 40, 20, 45 & 48 of the cupping chart to target the shoulder issue. Additionally, I cupped points 6, 41, 42, 46, 51 with another 5 cups on the R side outer leg to detox the liver (as recommended by mentor).
The cups were left on the sites for 15 minutes before removing all apart from one which I used to do the rolling rotation method around the connection area between the liver & R shoulder.
For the remainder of the session I performed a medium/deep massage with the energetic intention of stimulating qi flow into blocked areas of Miss S’ muscles and organs. Once this was completed I finished the treatment by using a cold compress on her back to relax her skin & aid in inflammation reduction.
An initial visual/subjective assessment following the session showed that Miss S was much calmer and was holding a much more relaxed posture when she sat up. The range of motion in her neck rotations and R arm were improved and she advised they did not feel tight while moving them.
The ecchymosis from the cupping sites revealed, as expected, stagnant blood & qi with all the sites going dark red & one on site 20 of the shoulder going purple. The cups on most of the sites contained water drops further indicating coldness & lack of energy flow.
After the treatment I reinforced to Miss S the R shoulder and its fascial connection to the liver. I noted down on her program to go over her food diary in our next coaching session & left her with the short term goal to aim to drink an additional liter of water per day for aiding in the detoxification of her liver.
Cupping After Care advice
The emotional component, like the diet, will be worked on in future coaching sessions. The physical release from cupping however does seem to have helped Miss S with facing this side of the issue however. On a follow up call, she advised that she has been sleeping much better & has felt less emotional in the work place. She advised the issues are there but feel as though they can be dealt with and learned from as opposed to being ‘pushed around by them’.
Miss S has had massage & deep tissue therapy from me before but has never reported this level of ease after those sessions. I recommended she book in for follow up treatments daily for the next 10 days then having a 7-10 day rest from cupping to recover. This protocol is difficult around her work commitments so client will be booking in 2-3xper week for the next month. I have asked her to make a note of how she feels after treatments & to record any major changes in skin, energy levels and movement ranges for me to analyse when the month is up.