Updated: Jul 22
Photo: Maison Ito
The ancient therapy of facial cupping is healing, rejuvenating, and widely practised in the holistic health world. However, if you’ve never heard of it or never experienced it, you may feel hesitant to try cupping. While facial cupping is popular with celebrities like Kate Beckinsale, there remain some questions about what this treatment does. Spoiler alert: facial cupping is very different from body cupping which has a reputation for leaving behind painful-looking marks and bruises.
In this article, we’ll guide you through what you can expect from facial cupping and how it’s used at Maison Ito.
| What is facial cupping?
Silicone or glass cups are applied to the facial skin for a short time to give a powerful, deep tissue massage. Using these suction cups relieves muscle tension, as well as promotes cell repair for the skin. It also improves skin circulation, eliminates excess fluid, and smoothes over fine lines. Much like guasha, facial cupping is known for giving a natural glow to the skin.
| The origins of cupping
Cupping is common in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which is why many people assume it originated in China. Contrary to popular belief, researchers point to early Egypt as the birthplace of the healing treatment of cupping. Records show that this holistic remedy was used to treat illnesses in Egypt as far back as 1550 BC. In China, an ancient book written on silk holds their first record of cupping dating back to 186 BC.
Many ancient civilizations used hollowed out horns or gourds as their first cupping instruments. These would later be replaced with bamboo, ceramic, and glass as this ancient treatment travelled across Europe. From the 9th century to the 15th century, the world of medicine and health continued to evolve and grow, cupping included. In fact, up until the late 19th century, doctors commonly used cupping in both Europe and America. Although cupping declined in popularity during the 20th century, it continued to be employed in the holistic health world
| How does it work?
Photo: Maison Ito
This treatment works by using the negative pressure inside suction cups to decompress the skin and the underlying tissue. In doing this, facial cupping lifts, tones, and contours the skin and releases the muscles. Cupping massages the deeper layers of skin and when used on the eye area or lips leaves them looking plump. Facial cupping also works to detox the skin by activating the lymphatic system and promoting lymphatic draining.
Muscle pain can be connected to stagnant fluid or poor circulation, so facial cupping provides fresh blood flow and reduced inflammation allowing for a faster recovery. Since it works the facial muscles, cupping has also been shown to alleviate headaches, tooth pain, and even nasal congestion. Most people will be able to see the results of facial cupping after only a few sessions. Expect to see more youthful and glowing skin as a result of this ancient healing treatment.
| Benefits of facial cupping
Maison Ito's facialist Emilie Celine spoke to beauty editor Carla Reinhard in Bolero Magazine last autumn about the healing power of cupping and how it may be the new facelift. This holistic health ritual has many benefits for the skin and body. Just last year, Carla Reinhard, beauty editor at Bolero Magazine wrote that cupping may be the new facelift. Underneath the skin, facial cupping loosens connective tissues which improve blood flow by allowing newly oxygenated blood to reach the area. As it boosts blood flow, cupping removes stagnant blood and reinvigorates the face. It can also increase lymph flow and allows for better lymphatic drainage. The removal of excess lymph from the face with cupping minimizes puffiness and removes any toxins from the area.
On the surface level, facial cupping reduces the signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles. The suction of cupping helps to tone the skin from the inside out, making it smooth and sculpted. Beneath the skin, this natural skincare technique firms facial muscles and can soften any scar tissue. Granted that while facial cupping may be intimidating for newbies, this ancient ritual is quite relaxing. Combined with the soothing music, scents, and the calming atmosphere at our spa, cupping may even lull you to sleep!
| Frequently asked questions about cupping
Does it hurt?
Facial cupping is a gentle and completely painless treatment. Most people who undergo facial cupping treatments find it relaxing and feel they round out their spa experience. Because the face must be lubricated before the treatment starts, some say that facial cupping feels like a big kiss!
Does it leave behind any marks?
The skin will redden during the treatment as this is a sign that blood is reaching the surface of the skin. Nonetheless, the redness will eventually fade and there won’t be any marks left behind. Facial cupping does not leave any bruised skin or frightening red spots.
Who is facial cupping for?
This treatment is for anyone who is looking to reduce puffiness of the skin, improve skin circulation, or combat the signs of ageing. If you are suffering from muscle aches or tension, facial cupping may also help you. Not to mention, it’s ideal for anyone who wants to relax and treat their skin!
How will my face feel after one session?
After a facial cupping session, you will experience a glow effect and have a rosy-pale face. Your facial skin will feel smooth to the touch and lines will be less noticeable. Facial cupping is ideal before a big event, such as a wedding, and can help prepare your skin for professional makeup.
Facial cupping at the hands of an expert can give you a younger appearance and help you feel great. At Maison Ito, we use the ancient healing ritual of cupping to bring a natural glow to your face. Do you think you’re ready to try cupping? Simply select The Facial Cupping add-on from our treatment menu when you book an appointment to indulge in your first facial cupping experience. Our highly trained facialist Emilie will pamper your skin as you leave all your worries behind in our quiet oasis in the city.
BY ASHUNI P. & EMILIE CELINE