Cup Ther­apy

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS - BY RENEÉ NOVELLE Reneé Novelle is Fash­ion Edi­tor for TOTI Me­dia.

With his client on the massage table, Raul Irizarry spreads a thin layer of co­conut-based oil along the woman’s back be­fore press­ing the first sil­i­cone cup into po­si­tion. “It doesn’t hurt at all,” re­as­sures April Cosi­mano, a pro­fes­sional body­builder and per­sonal trainer tak­ing weekly cup treat­ments. “It ac­tu­ally pro­vides a lot of pain re­lief when he’s fin­ished. I can feel the tight mus­cles re­leas­ing.”

“It looks like some­thing you had done by a mad sci­en­tist,” says Irizarry, laugh­ing and gently ap­ply­ing more cups of vary­ing sizes along Cosi­mano’s de­fined mus­cles. Truly, her body be­gins to re­sem­ble an oc­to­pus’s ten­ta­cle. “It’s not pretty, but it does work.”

Those re­ceiv­ing cup ther­apy in­sist the prac­tice of al­ter­na­tive heal­ing pro­vides more nat­u­ral re­lief to over­worked mus­cles, arthri­tis, chronic pain, sprains, in­juries and var­i­ous ill­nesses. The swim­mer Michael Phelps is re­mem­bered for the iden­ti­fy­ing “cup kisses” on his up­per body in the last Olympics. In the­ory, the ap­pli­ca­tion of suc­tion draws blood to a specific area, in­creas­ing cir­cu­la­tion to heal, to break up knots or con­gested ar­eas of the body. There’s no bruis­ing or dis­com­fort. Oth­ers such as the Bri­tish Cup­ping So­ci­ety in­sist it treats anx­i­ety and al­ler­gies, al­though med­i­cal find­ings on cup­ping in gen­eral are in­con­clu­sive. But Irizarry knows that cup­ping works, con­vinced af­ter a per­sonal ses­sion, adding it to his Bet­ter Bod­ies of SWFL, a suc­cess­ful massage prac­tice in Naples. “I had no knowl­edge of it, so I had noth­ing to judge it by, other than how I felt,” he ex­plains. “And I felt great af­ter­wards. Very eu­phoric, a lot of pain re­lief … all the anx­i­ety was gone. Af­ter that I was sold.” Irizarry un­der­took train­ing, wish­ing to “up my game. I was con­tent with my mas­sag­ing prac­tice, but I just wasn’t get­ting the re­sult that I wanted for my clients. I wanted to see a bet­ter look on their faces,” he says, his ex­pres­sion a mix of pas­sion and con­cern, fur­ther ex­plain­ing, “I wanted to make sure that

I was at­tack­ing the prob­lem and get­ting rid of it. Not just rub­bing oil on it, hop­ing some­thing good hap­pens.”

Now set­tled into an open ware­house stu­dio where he also of­fers mixed mar­tial arts classes, Irizarry will in­cor­po­rate cup­ping into a stan­dard massage af­ter ex­plain­ing the treat­ment and what to ex­pect. Both be­fore and af­ter ap­ply­ing the cups, he thor­oughly mas­sages the area to in­crease blood flow and mus­cle re­lief while re­leas­ing tox­ins in the mus­cles, which seems to en­hance the re­sults of both ther­a­pies, he says.

As with all forms of ther­apy, Irizarry en­cour­ages ver­i­fi­ca­tion that the prac­ti­tioner has been cer­ti­fied by a rec­og­nized es­tab­lish­ment, board or school. Florida does not reg­u­late or li­cense the prac­tice as it does massage. “If you don’t know what you’re do­ing,” he says, “you could make the prob­lem worse. A cer­ti­fied prac­ti­tioner will be more knowl­edge­able, and will know what cup to use and what’s go­ing to be bet­ter for your par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stance.” But those who come to him can be as­sured the ex­pe­ri­ence will be worth­while. “I take pride in my work, and I just want to see peo­ple happy.”

Learn more about Raul Irizarry and Bet­ter Bod­ies of SWFL, LLC on Face­book.


Raul Iriz­zary (above) com­ple­ments massage with cup ther­apy in his Naples prac­tice, Bet­ter Bod­ies of SWFL.

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