Have you ever heard of Cupping therapy? If you have watched the Olympics you have seen Athletes like Michel Phelps have these perfectly circular busies on their shoulders, back and neck, pretty much anywhere.
But what is it, what does it actually do, does it work?
What cupping is are circular tools applied to the skin. They are made from either Glass, Silicone, Bamboo or Earthenwear. It can be applied either wet or dry to the skin.
Cupping basically sucks up, skin, muscle, blood inside the cup either by means of pressure from the silicone or glass using flame or a pressure gun. From a personal standpoint I prefer to use the silicone because it only allows you to suck up so much of the muscle and not a fan of playing with matches over a client.
As you can see from the picture below, This is using glass and either a flame or a pressure gun. Typically it is left on the skin for about 5 to 10 minutes, it brings in new blood into the muscle.
Encouraging the build up of what ever toxins that are in the muscle to be pushed out. I have also seen where acupuncture is done and then the cupping. Allowing blood to pool in the cup, this is out of a massage therpists scope of practice and should not be done.
Cupping is not only for athletes it can be used on anyone, especially people that have an active lifestyle or chronic pain. There are a few contraindications to cupping and you should always consult your doctor.
Cupping can also be applied with a lighter suction and used as rolling or myofascial release of the skin.
Side Effects of Cupping therapy
Cupping may sometimes cause temporary marks on the skin, according to Web MD they may last up to 10 days. This is because the blood in the body is brought to the skin’s surface. It’s like getting bruises. Always consult your doctor before trying cupping therapy. Clients with diseases like hemophilia or other clotting disorders should not do cupping.
The clients skin has to be healthy. Cupping cannot be used on skin surfaces which are inflamed, infected or burned. Cupping can be beneficial, as long as it is applied with caution by a trained professional. Cupping may also come with some side effects. These include: mild discomfort, burns, bruises or skin infections.
I have personally used the cups on myself and find that they do help, especially on areas that are stubborn and the tension will not release. As the cups are being used, I also incorporate massage after the cup is removed to shift some of the pooling from the area. It's also a good conversation starter when someone recognizes it.