Not All Cups Are Created Equal!
As with any product that has a number of different manufacturers, slightly different silicone compounds will be used when producing silicone cupping products. What this means for the consumer is that a set of cups from one company will not necessarily be the exact same as a set of cups from another company as their silicone compound or the curing process they used could be different.
At Global Cupping we have firsthand relationships with our manufacturers, which means we can ensure that our products are being made from the highest quality silicone available. All of our silicone Cupping Therapy products are made from either medical-grade or food-grade, platinum-cured silicone. What this ultimately means is that you can be completely assured that our products contain no fillers or by-products and that they will also have a remarkably high clarity to them.
Platinum-cured products tend to have a higher tensile and tear strength - meaning they will last longer - and are viewed as being the 'cleaner' silicone, especially for healthcare applications that require purity and cleanliness of materials.
There are two types of compounds used when making silicone Cupping Therapy products:
Food Grade Silicone - Food Grade Silicone is a non-toxic type of silicone that doesn’t contain any chemical fillers or byproducts, making it safe for use with food. This type of silicone is used frequently in making molds and begins as a liquid and then solidifies. Some applications of food grade silicone include baking molds, ice cube trays, grips on kitchen knives, whisks, spoons, and other kitchen utensils that would come in contact with foods.
Medical Grade Silicone - Medical Grade Silicone is most used for the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products and implant devices. The term ‘medical grade’ is applied to silicone products that fulfill these requirements: a long history of successful implantation in both animals and humans, manufactured under good pharmaceutical manufacturing conditions, and quality controlled for medical applications.
In addition to the type of silicone compound that your cups are made from...also knowing what type of curing process was used during manufacturing will help you to understand the quality of the product you are purchasing.
The two most common of these methods are platinum-catalyzed addition polymerization (platinum curing) or peroxide-initiated free-radical polymerization (peroxide curing):
Platinum-cured silicone is favored for its optical clarity - how transparent it is - and is widely accepted for applications where purity is a concern or repeated sterilization is required. Platinum curing produces no byproducts and is the preferred curing process for medical related products. Platinum-cured products tend to have a higher tensile strength and tear strength and are viewed as being the cleaner silicone, especially for healthcare applications that require the utmost purity and cleanliness of materials.
Peroxide-cured silicone produces more of a translucent appearance as opposed to a transparent appearance and does result in some byproducts, which tend to be organic acids. Although a high-heat post-curing method can be employed to drive out many of these impurities, they are a major reason why platinum-cured silicone is often preferred for medical and FDA applications. Peroxide-cured silicones are generally less expensive to produce.
What does the 'hardness' mean?
When it comes to silicone products, the hardness level (durometer) refers to the "material's resistance to being penetrated or permanently indented". Durometer is the most common method to determine the hardness of a material such as silicone - higher numbers indicate a greater resistance to indentation and therefore a harder material; lower numbers indicate less resistance and softer materials.Most silicone products will fall into a durometer range between 40 and 70 with cupping products having a level of variance in between these numbers, which will ultimately produce a variation in how 'hard' the cup feels and what types of techniques they will be best used for. Note that these variations can be relatively minimal, but yet have a dramatic difference in how the cup feels.
For example, a Cupping set that has a 60 hardness means that it is less prone to indentation and will feel harder than a set that has a 40 hardness. If a cup is lower on the durometer scale (45A to 50A), it will feel softer in your hand and may be more difficult to use with Cupping techniques where a larger amount of suction is desired. Whereas Cupping sets that are on the higher end (60A to 65A) will have a more 'rigid' feel to them.
The higher the hardness number of your silicone cups, the more resistant they are to be indented. In other words...a higher hardness of the silicone compound means that the cups are going to feel a little harder in your hands when you squeeze them, which means that they are going to be a little bit more 'rigid' when it comes to using them in different ways.
When using the Static or Stationary technique, using a slightly higher durometer of silicone works the best. You would want to look for cups that fall within the hardness level of approximately 60 to 65. At this hardness level, you will find that the cup is going to return to its original shape faster and as a result the amount of suction that it creates within the cup is going to feel stronger. It's for this reason that we recommend using the higher hardness level cups for only Static / Stationary techniques or techniques where you aren't moving the cups over the body.
When using the Dynamic or Massage technique where the cups are being moved over the skin with the help of some massage lotion or oil, look for cups that fall within the hardness level of approximately 55 to 60. At this hardness level, the cups tend to be a little softer and easier to squeeze to create the suction and move them over the body. With cups in this hardness level, the suction that is created will feel slightly less and therefore they are recommended for movement techniques. Note that when using your cups dynamically in this manner, they may 'pop' off or lose their suction - this is completely normal.