As massage therapists, we're always looking to improve our craft and add new tools to our bodywork tool belts. We're always looking for new and interesting ways to help you feel better in your body. Last month our crew traveled to Asheville, North Carolina for some education and exploration. What did we learn? What did we find? Fire cupping, gua sha, and healing crystals!
Both fire cupping and gua sha are methods from Chinese Medicine, but have been practiced by many cultures all over the world for thousands of years. The goal, basically, is to relieve pain, restriction, and stagnation in the body.
What is fire cupping? We use round glass cups, pictured above, to create a suction on the skin. The suction creates a pull on the muscles while at the same time releasing restriction in the fascia and increasing circulation. Unlike massage, typically a pushing motion, the suction from the cups creates a pulling up motion on the muscles. It's an interesting sensation that's quite relieving and relaxing. This technique is used for muscle tension and pain and works great for old injuries. If you have deep restriction in your body, but can't handle deep tissue massage, this modality is for you!
What is gua sha? We use a ceramic tool to create friction on an area of the body where there is pain and shortening of the muscles or tendons. This has a similar effect to the cupping, but can be used in harder to suction areas, like hands and feet, tendons, or other areas that aren't flat and broad. This technique is great for treating plantar fasciitis or any area that feels stuck.
Besides taking the class, we were also able to do some shopping for crystals in Asheville. We were in a GIANT room full of thousands of colorful, glittery, healing crystals. It was an amazing experience! If you're into rocks, we have new specimens available in the Emporium.
Have you ever been to Asheville? If not, we recommend it. The scenery is gorgeous- foggy mountains, lush greenery, and woodland creatures (bears!) running about. Downtown Asheville is full of interesting shops and tasty restaurants. We're hoping to go back again soon!
Check out a video of our trip: