Cupping therapy is an alternative therapy that involves placing cups on the skin to create suction.
The suction facilitates healing with blood flow.
There is a new ad from Under Armour featuring 22-time Olympic-medal winner Michael Phelps. It is an inspiring video that shows the strength, determination, required to be a record-setting world champion. If you pay close attention, starting 44 seconds into the video, you’ll see Phelps getting cupping! You also may recall seeing the purple spots on his back while he was swimming in the Olympics. Super athletes like this, wouldn’t waste time on treatments that didn’t lend benefits for maximum health and increased performance.
You may have also seen photographs of celebs such as Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow with distinctive cupping marks on their backs and shoulders. What was once a mysterious, almost scary-looking treatment in the West is now hitting the mainstream due to its numerous health benefits.
How is Cupping Therapy Done?
Silicone cups are placed on the skin, creating a vacuum-like seal. The superficial muscle layer is drawn up into the cup, which stimulates the circulation of blood, breaks up adhesions, and creates a pathway for toxins to be drawn out of the body through the lymphatic system. Cupping can affect tissues up to four inches deep—impacting blood vessels, fascia, muscles, and scar tissue.
More and more, cupping is showing up in physical therapy and massage offices as well, under a different name—myofascial decompression (MFD). MFD is essentially the same thing as cupping, and it is being used in the Olympic games for pre and post-workout recovery and detoxification.
Cupping decompresses adhesions and scar tissue, relaxes muscles in spasm, decreases trigger-point pain, and decreases tissue changes and inflammation.
All of us here love cupping! We all agree, it feels like you’ve had the equivalent of a good massage after a cupping session. Generally, the more trauma, inflammation or interruption of blood flow to an area, the quicker the skin turns colors within the cup. Cupping can leave red or purplish circles on the areas treated, for up to 5 days, depending on the severity of symptoms for which you are being treated.
What are the benefits of cupping?
- Stimulates whole-body relaxation response (parasympathetic response)
- Stimulates oxygenation and detoxification of blood while promoting a feeling of lightness and tension relief
- Detoxifies metabolic debris in muscle tissue, fascia, and skin
- Increases range of motion, breaks up adhesions, and promotes healing in scar tissue and chronic injury sites
- Increases lymphatic drainage and promotes circulation
These physiological responses mean that cupping can be helpful for some of the following conditions:
✓ Tight and stiff muscles
✓ Back pain and sciatica
✓ IT band pain
✓ Rotator cuff injuries
✓ High blood pressure (by calming the nervous system)
✓ Plantar fasciitis
✓ Anxiety, depression, and stress