Cupping for Stretch Marks – It Sucks!
I’ve heard of plenty of people using cupping massage for stretch marks, so of course, I felt compelled to check it out. In this article, we’ll be talking a bit about what cupping is, exactly, and how it might work to treat/fade your stretch marks. We’ll be looking at the scientific evidence, but also at the testimonials of real people, to offer as accurate a view as possible.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a popular form of alternative therapy that hails from China. It involves the use of suction cups, pressed tightly against the skin to create a vacuum. The cup’s suction effect is believed to increase the blood flow in that area and thus help treat/heal various ailments.
What are the Benefits of Cupping?
- Pain relief – Cupping can have a numbing effect on local pain, which is why the cups are sometimes used to treat localized aches.
- Muscle relaxation – Cupping may also help loosen tense (and painful or stiff) muscles by increasing the area’s blood flow.
- Toxin release – the increased blood flow also encourages the tissue to release pent-up toxins and facilitates healing.
- Congestion relief – Cupping can also be used to alleviate congestion, by bringing new blood, rich in oxygen, to the lungs and respiratory system.
- Digestion stimulant – When placed on the abdomen, the suction cups can stimulate the digestive system and treat indigestion and colon blockages.
- Skin problem treatment – Lastly, cupping is often used to treat a wide range of skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, varicose veins, and indeed, stretch marks, which is what we’ll be focusing on.
How Can Cupping Massage Aid with Stretch Marks?
The idea behind it is that cupping, traditionally, brings new, healthy blood to the sight of any wound. By performing cupping on your stretch marks, you are encouraging oxygen-rich blood to rush to the area, and in turn, stimulate healing.
The practice can also help relieve the pain sometimes associated with fresh, red stretch marks (although you should always consult with a specialist before trying cupping on your fresh new stretch marks).
Although it is called a “cupping massage,” the practice doesn’t involve any skin rubbing. If anything, the masseuse might decide to apply a little massage on the skin beforehand, although that’s not common.
What Can You Expect During A Cupping Massage for Stretch Marks?
Typically, the practitioner will place the cups on your back, abdomen legs, or wherever the stretch marks are and leave them on for about 5-15 minutes. This can be longer or shorter, depending on what the practitioner decides is best.
After the time has passed, the practitioner will gently release the pressure from the cups and remove them. You will probably be left with red, slightly red blotches on the skin, which will go away within a day or so. The practitioner may apply lotion or even bandage these blotches, to prevent infection.
While your skin will appear better from the first appointment, you generally need to attend at least 4-5 sessions to truly see a lasting difference.
While some small studies seem to support the benefits of cupping, others claim that any potential improvement or pain relief might be due to the placebo effect. So the scientific evidence on the topic is a bit sparse, but you should give it a go if you’re looking to improve the appearance of your stretch-marked skin!
Different Cupping Options
So you’ve decided to try cupping, but are wondering how to go about it. Well, you have a bunch of options. You can either go to a professional salon and get a cupping massage or attempt to perform one on yourself at home.
As a professional service, cupping tends to be more reliable because you employ an experienced practitioner who knows what they’re doing. Improperly done cupping can leave you with bruising and make any skin condition worse, so if you’re unsure of your skill, do go with a professional.
At Home Cupping
If you’ve performed cupping or are reasonably confident in your skill, there are lots of great at-home sets of suction cups (which we’ll be reviewing in just a moment). Obviously, at-home cupping has the major benefit of being less costly, and when done right, can be just as effective as professional cupping.
The Cost of Cupping
There is quite a bit of difference when it comes to cost, with professional cupping (as a service) costing anything from $40 to $80 per session, while an at-home cupping set can cost anything from $15 to $40.
Frankly, I’d recommend springing for a more expensive one, because it’s well worth it when you consider what a bargain you’re getting as opposed to professional cupping sessions.
The Cupping FAQ
In this section, we’ll be looking at some commonly asked questions on the subject of cupping.
- Does cupping hurt?
No, it doesn’t. When the cups are first applied, you’ll feel a tightness around that area, and it may be somewhat strange/uncomfortable during that first session. However, you’ll soon get used to it and soon won’t mind the tightness at all.
- Is cupping safe?
Yes, cupping is considered a fairly safe traditional medicine practice, although that’s not to say it’s entirely without side effects.
- What are the side effects of cupping?
When the skin is particularly sensitive, or the cupping is done wrong, the practice can leave you with bruising. There is also a small chance of scarring and infection, although these are easily avoided by hiring a skilled practitioner.
At-Home Cupping Options
As promised, in this section, we’ll be taking a look at some popular at-home cupping sets, in order to help you choose which works best for you.
Lure Essentials Advanced Therapy Cupping Set
This set of four silicone professional grade cups allows you to perform weak, medium, and strong cupping massages on yourself. The silicone is durable and elastic and is made without any nasty additions, such as phthalates, or PVC (which can increase the risk of infection).
- Great price;
- Reduce cellulite;
- Pleasant feeling after use;
- Great delivery;
- Professional cups;
- Lose suction power after a while;
- Manufacturers may have changed the material to weak, damaging plastic;
- The only “stretch mark” review I found claimed the stuff actually gives you stretch marks, rather than reduce them.
Considering the 4.5/5 average this has, I’m guessing it’s a pretty good, quite professional product and comes at a truly excellent price.
Best for Splurge: Acuzone Premium Cupping Set
The Acuzone set of 19 cups is marked as Amazon’s Choice, so immediately comes with high recommendations. The cups are made from baby bottle plastic, which can easily be sterilized in boiling water, so that’s a big plus.
- Easy to use;
- The cups come in several sizes, which make them easy to use in various places on the body;
- Helps with localized pain;
- Professional grade;
- Good price.
- Several noted they break easily;
- Some say you can’t boil them, quoting misleading description;
- Can’t be returned.
All in all, the Acuzone set sounds like a great, and non-too-pricey deal, if you want to try cupping for stretch marks. I particularly love the versatility of the many cup sizes!
Best Value: SPEQUIX Professional Silicone Cupping Therapy Set
This set of six cups of different sizes comes at an excellent price, especially since they’re all made from durable, professional-grade silicone.
- Strong suction;
- Excellent quality;
- Different sizes make it easy to use in multiple areas;
- Easy to clean.
- Material can be a bit stiff;
- The vaguely chemical scent is a bit strong for some.
All in all, I’d recommend these cups, with the mention that since the suction seems to be quite strong, you need to use them with care (so as not to get bruises or other unpleasant side effects!).
Best for Budget: 500-Mile Cupping Therapy Set
I’ll start off by saying this set of 7 cups is easily the best priced and comes with a great variety in sizes and shapes, which allow use all over the body, including under the eyes. The cups are all made of professional-grade silicone, as well.
- Easy to use;
- Strong suction;
- Comes both in pink and blue;
- Helps with cellulite;
- They’re a bit stiff, so a little hard to squeeze;
- Some people got injured when using on the face since the skin is more sensitive.
Overall, I think the 500-Mile set is excellent for the price and could be a great, inexpensive way to see if you like the general idea of cupping.
Kangzhu 24-Cup Biomagnetic Chinese Cupping Therapy Set ($22)
What’s interesting about these cups is that they also allow you to do magnetic therapy, if that’s something you’re into. The set comes with a whopping 24 pieces, sadly made of plastic (less trustworthy than silicone).
- The cups themselves are good;
- The different sizes allow different uses;
- Crack easily;
- Not durable;
While these come with a high rating, there seem to be as many good reviews as there are bad, so I’m not sure what to say. Best if you check these out and decide for yourself!
Cupping therapy for stretch marks can be super-effective and speed up the healing and improve the appearance of both old and new stretch marks. So I highly recommend that you give it a go!