Review of "The Guide To Modern Cupping Therapy", by Shannon Gilmartin, CMT
This book has a lot going for it. If you're just stepping into the cupping world, then this would be perfect for you. It covers all the basics that you would normally learn in a cupping course plus some. If you don't have a background in anatomy, then I think you'll really appreciate her break down of how cupping affects each and every system of the body. This includes the integumentary system, circulatory system, muscular system, skeletal system, respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, urinary system, reproductive system, endocrine system and exocrine system. I love how she provides just enough information about each system and exactly how cupping manifests in each system. This alone is enough for me to recommend this book. Even as a therapist who has been cupping for years, I can honestly say I walked away having a clearer understanding of why cupping is so awesome. I think as therapists we owe it to our clients to always be learning and if you walk away only learning one thing from this book, then that's a win in my opinion. I'm glad to see that she advocates for cupping marks to be just that... a cupping mark, when done properly of course. This is a hot topic and perhaps with more research everyone in the cupping community can agree that the marks are not bruises. Its hard enough to get people/clients to try cupping and as therapists it is our responsibility to educate the public, so that they can make an informed decision.
Shannon has lots of little tips that are really neat to consider and you won't find these in a workshop/course. For example, Shannon advises to use light pressure and a maximum of 2-3 minutes of static cupping over the kidneys (lower back) as this will eliminate any chance of blood being drawn out of them and also protects the adrenal glands which sit just above the kidneys. I do want to bring attention to a safety point that Shannon touches on and this is in regards to cleaning and caring for cups that are purchased. She advises that you check the package instructions and I just want to add that many manufacturers of cups are not up to date on cleaning and disinfecting cups. Nor are some of the companies that are selling these cups from the manufactures. I cannot tell you how many times I've read an insert telling me to boil my polycarbonate plastic cups to clean them (which has and will destroy your cups) to cleaning silicone cups with lysol wipes. This really isn't a problem for individual use, but for a clinical environment there needs to be consideration taken when it comes to a cup potentially coming into contact with blood (perhaps a pimple pops or their is a small nick from a razor or even a mosquito bite). Shannon also advocates for proper disinfection for clinical use, which I really appreciate. I personally feel that we as therapists need to practice with the highest standards in place to protect the public and this means using a high level disinfection solution.
I love the pictures in this book. From an actual picture of a fascial adhesion to a set of thermographics to show the efficacy of cupping therapy. She takes the time to talk about different techniques to use with the cups, the effects they have on the body and how much suction to use and when. There is so much good information here to fill the holes that are often left from taking a course because there just isn't enough time to touch on everything. I especially love the chapter on emotion releases with cupping as I have seen this first hand many times. I believe as Shannon mentions that emotional memory of trauma can be imprinted within the soft tissue of the body.
The techniques are simple and effective. She walks you through treatment protocols for stress relief, back tension, neck and shoulder tension, frozen shoulder, elbow problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, IT Band restrictions, knee problems, plantar fasciitis, constipation, acid reflux, TMJ, and sinus congestion. She has an entire section devoted to lympathic drainage, which is very detailed and her section on cupping for pulmonary conditions is also stellar. She also includes cupping for athletic performance, cellulite, scar tissue, and even pregnancy.
The price alone for this book is reason enough that anyone who is even curious about cupping therapy should have a copy. She gives you everything you need to start your journey into the cupping world and even gives you a full body sequence. This book is a gem.