Cupping therapy has exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to more and more people singing its praises. To many folks who are new to cupping, it may seem like a recent trend. The truth is, cupping is an ancient practice that originated thousands of years ago in China.
Though more research is needed to truly understand the effects and benefits of cupping, it is thought to improve blood flow to the areas it is applied to help ease chronic and painful conditions and improve cellular recovery. This is one of the reasons why cupping has become so popular among athletes and other physically active celebrities in recent years.
This week, we will break down the ideas behind cupping therapy and its potential benefits, which have kept so popular and enduring.
What Is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping therapy, in some ways, is similar to a deep tissue massage. The main difference is that cupping uses suction and decompression instead of physical massaging. In truth, the two are more like opposites of each other. Where cupping draws pressure outward for treatment, a massage applies pressure directly to the area.
During a cupping session, your practitioner will apply rounded cups directly to the skin of the area they are treating. These cups are usually made out of glass or plastic (though they can be made of many different materials) and are manually “pumped” to create suction.
Once the cups suction tightly to the skin, a vacuum begins to form inside of the cup. This draws the skin and blood that are up and into the cup.
Depending on the condition, a cupping practitioner may use only one or two cups. They may use more depending on the size of the treated area. The cup(s) are usually left in place for about 5-10 minutes.
When the cups are removed, slight bruising or circular marks left on the skin are common and will generally clear up within a few days.
Some people choose to combine acupuncture and cupping. It is referred to as “needle cupping” and follows an acupuncture session with cupping.
What Does Cupping Therapy Do?
As we mentioned above, researchers are still actively exploring just how and why cupping therapy does what it does. Of all of the benefits associated with cupping, treating muscle aches and improving recovery time is one of the most popular reasons people use it today. Again, this is why it is prevalent among athletes.
The idea is that cupping causes your body to react to and treat the cupped area as though it were an injury. In doing so, it increases blood flow to the affected area. This allows for the quicker breakdown & recovery of scar tissue. It also helps to relax the muscles and connective tissue.
Other conditions that cupping therapy is thought to help treat (usually alongside other treatment) include:
- Muscle Strains
- Post-Surgical Scar Revoery
- Postural Pain
- Headaches & Migraines
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Cervical Spondylosis
How Often Can You Use Cupping Therapy?
For the most part, healthy patients under the age of 60 generally tolerate cupping very well. Cupping therapy can be safely administered up to 2-3 times per week with minor side effects.
Though a patient may experience slight light-headedness, dizziness, or even nausea during their appointment, it should clear up by the end of the session. It is also essential to keep in mind that there is a potential risk for infection when undergoing cupping therapy. Ultimately though, it’s a reasonably small risk. As long as your practitioner takes proper cleaning care before and after your session to avoid infection.
If you experience any lingering pain or symptoms, make sure to consult your practitioner about your symptoms. This should be done before engaging in your next cupping therapy appointment.
What Not To Do After Cupping Therapy
Though cupping is generally safe, there are some post-care care guidelines that you should keep in mind.
After cupping, the skin around the area where the cups were will be slightly sensitive to touch and temperature. For this reason, you should avoid contact with any kind of external temperature extremes (i.e., hot tubs, sauna, strong air conditioning, cold or windy weather, etc.). You should steer clear of any kind of heating or cooling topical creams as well.
If you really want the cupped area to recover and heal any bruising or marks as quickly as possible, there’s no substitute for rest and hydration.
Cupping At Movement Health
At Movement Health, we believe that when you move better, you live better. This is why we focus on improving circulation and relaxation during every Cupping Therapy visit. To ensure you get the best results possible, Cupping Therapy treatments at Movement Health can also include Registered Massage Therapy, Contemporary Medical Acupuncture, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, and exercise prescriptions.
Book an appointment with us today. Or schedule a free telehealth consultation if you have questions before booking your 1st appointment. Our expert team of professionals is on hand to help you find relief.
Until Next Time,