Cupping has been used throughout the world for centuries and had been a part of mainstream medicine in Europe until the 1900’s. It faded from practice in the Western world after the Second World War, but has always been a mainstay in Chinese medicine and has been used in China for thousands of years. Cupping is making a comeback, and it’s popularity has really shot up after Michael Phelps was spotted at the Rio Olympics sporting cupping marks all over his back and shoulders.
If you’re unfamiliar with cupping, it does seem strange. Cupping is actually a highly effective method for relaxing sore tight muscles, improving blood circulation, and helping reduce pain.
How does it work exactly? Traditionally, a Chinese medicine practitioner will use glass cups, and using a flame, removes the oxygen from the inside which creates a vacuum effect. Cups can be made from glass, bamboo, silicone, or plastic.
Occasionally the cups will be moved along larger muscles, often likened to a deep tissue massage and will come with similar benefits. Often though, the cups will be left in place to exert their benefit. After 15-20 minutes the cups will be removed, leaving pink, to red to purple marks. Darker marks usually mean there is more stagnation in the tissue. These marks will fade and disappear within 5-7 days.
Cupping is beneficial for so many things, from tight muscles, areas with knots and pain, trigger points, pain from being in front of a keyboard all day (think hunched shoulders)… It can reduce adhesions and softens scar tissue (surgical scars, c-section scarring), help with menstrual pain, chronic coughs, early stages of the common cold, carpel tunnel, tennis elbow, IT band tightness……. AND…… it just plain ol’ feels amazing.
If you think you would benefit from cupping, give the clinic a call or book yourself in for a treatment.