Therapeutic Cupping has become very popular in recent years. So what is it, and why does everyone, from adolescents to elite athletes, seem to love them!
What is cupping?
Cupping has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and many other ancient forms of medicine for thousands of years. When cups are placed on the skin, they create a vacuum or suction, which pulls the skin up into the cup. Cups come in a variety of forms, but in our office we use silicone cups that are placed on or around the treatment area.
Types of cupping
Static cupping is when the cup is placed on the skin and left to pull blood flow in and help get the lymphatic system flowing.
Dynamic cupping, or ‘running’ with the cup, occurs when you apply lotion on the area, place the cup on the skin, and then glide the cup along the skin. Another way to do this is to place the cup on the skin, then move the body part, either through simple range of motion, or slow controlled exercises. These primarily target the fascia and encourage movement between tissues.
Cupping can help improve the flow of blood and lymphatic systems. This essentially helps flush out old waste and inflammatory products from the area, while bringing in nutrients and oxygen for the local tissues.
If you create movement either by moving the cup, or moving the body while they are attached, we are able to also get fascial movement. Fascia is the connective tissue within the body, which covers and connects muscles, nerves, bones, vasculature and organs. When there is inflammation or lack of movement in an area, this fascia can become sticky and not allow proper glide between all the connecting tissues. Reintroducing this glide back into the tissues can be great to improve range of motion, decrease tension and help with pain.
This is a great tool to use alongside and augment other treatments.
What does it feel like?
Most people really look forward to the cupping portion of treatment! It is admittedly a bit of an odd sensation as you feel the skin being suctioned into the cup, but is often quite comfortable. Areas with more tension or more chronic issues, can create more of a pinch type feeling. When we begin moving cups, patients are more likely to experience the pinching type of sensation. As always the amount of suction placed on the cup is very individual and we make sure that any discomfort is minimal and always to the patient’s tolerance.
What will it look like after/ does it leave marks?
Cupping often leaves round marks varying in darkness resembling a bruise. As cupping has become more popular over the past decade you may have seen these marks on friends or athletes on TV. These marks typically last anywhere from 3-7 days before fading away on their own. Although they look like bruises, the good news is they are quite comfortable and don’t FEEL like bruises!
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Still have question? That is ok! Dr. Stevie offers a free 15 minute consultation!