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Is Facial Cupping the Next Big Thing?


Botox, plastic surgery, intermittent fasting—they’ve all gained their 15 minutes of fame in the last few decades. People are always looking for ways to preserve their appearance and fight off good ol’ father time. And acupuncture, yoga, and massage therapy all fall under this same umbrella of “self-care.” The benefits of these practices are all debatable, and some of them carry significant risks if we’re being honest. But if you’re not opposed to a little bit of pain for the sake of beauty (or you just like to try new things) let me introduce you to the next big sensation: facial cupping.

Facial cupping is an alternative therapy that uses suction to stimulate target areas of your facial skin. The benefits and risks are still being evaluated. Though facial cupping is gaining popularity, it’s actually been around since early Chinese and Egyptian civilizations. Hijama (as cupping is sometimes called) fell out of practice for the most part in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Like intermittent fasting and acupuncture, this practice may involve a serious health risk. So you’ll definitely want to weigh out the pros and cons before making a decision. 

How Does Facial Cupping Actually Work?

If you’ve heard of cupping therapy, you probably get the idea. Facial cupping is basically the same technique, it just focuses on the facial area. Traditional cupping is often used to ease aches and pains, while facial cupping is more of an exercise in vanity.

Facial cupping follows a basic set of principles. Suction on your skin pulls additional blood to the area of suction. Think of a vacuum cleaner clinging to a specific part of your skin.

According to Healthline.com, this suction triggers “an inflammatory response, flooding the area with white blood cells, platelets, and other healing aids.” In other words, you are tricking your skin into a pain response, flooding more blood to the targeted area. And this concept isn’t too far from pinching your cheeks for a last-minute blush—just more extreme. It’s important to keep the suction cup moving from place to place to avoid potential unsightly bruising. Otherwise, you’ll give an entirely different meaning to the phrase, “moon-faced.”

Potential Benefits of Facial Cupping

When it comes down to whether the effects of this therapy are beneficial, it’s a hot-button issue. And there’s actually an array of positive outcomes reported by long-time cuppers. According to them, facial cupping has been shown to increase circulation, strengthen skin and connective tissues, relax muscle tension, and more. Facial cupping may lead to decreased puffiness, brighter skin and minimize the appearance of wrinkles and scars.

Potential Risks of Facial Cupping

After facial cupping, many people have experienced lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, and cold sweats. As mentioned earlier, improper facial cupping may also lead to bruising and discoloration. In general, many people consider facial cupping to be a risky activity despite the benefits. 

DIY Facial Cupping

Like many beauty trends, it’s about your tolerance to risk. Feel free to experiment; just consider the risks involved and make an educated decision. Plenty of people do facial cupping on their own, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Consider using a professional, especially for your first attempt.

Where Can You Buy Facial Cups?

You can buy facial cups just about anywhere online. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. As with any health product, be sure to research thoroughly and make the best choice for your body. If you’re not comfortable doing facial cupping therapy on your own, don’t risk it. 

Finding a Facial Cup Therapist

The Acupuncture Today Directory allows you to search for qualified facial cup therapists. You might even find an acupuncturist or another traditional Chinese specialist. Depending on the specialist, your session could vary in length. Your session may be as short as 10 minutes, and your therapist will probably suggest that you continue the therapy weekly for ten weeks, then once monthly going forward. 

You’ll want to be careful when you’re picking a therapist, just like you would with any healthcare provider. Don’t make any choices that you are not completely comfortable with when it comes to your body. But a quality cupping session could give you that youthful glow. After all, whoever said, “beauty is only skin deep” obviously never tried facial cupping.