Cupping is one of the commonly used modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It has been used for over two thousand years. It is incredible how many patients I have that come in and tell me that their grandmother or mother used to do cupping on them when they were a child. It has only been the last 15 years or so that we are seeing it used more commonly in North America. It was first given a lot of attention in 2005 when Gwenyth Paltrow was sporting cupping marks at an awards show. It again gained some interest this past summer at the 2016 Summer Olympics when we saw Michael Phelps with cupping marks as well.
What is cupping? Cupping involves the placement of a glass, silicone, plastic or bamboo cup on specific areas of the body. The practitioner heats inside the cup or uses a special pump type of cup to create negative pressure to adhere the cup to the skin through suction. Once the cup is properly placed it may be moved or may be kept stationary. The action is like massage but in reverse. With massage we apply pressure to the skin and with cupping we pull the skin upwards. When we use cupping we are increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the area being treated. This is beneficial to increase the body’s healing ability. It is an effective tool for myofascial release. It is commonly used to relieve muscle tension and to alleviate stress. Conditions commonly treated with cupping: - Muscle Tension - Muscle and Joint Pain - Cold and Flu - Internal imbalance - Stress - Effective tool to facilitate relaxation
The other big question that is always asked when it comes to cupping or acupuncture is the pain. Will it hurt? Cupping is generally a comfortable experience. Any discomfort is comparable to what would be felt during a deep tissue massage. Often times there are marks left after a cupping treatment. I would like to clarify that these are not bruises. Although they appear similar with the red/ purple appearance, they are not painful and not a result of trauma to the tissue. Cupping marks give the practitioner an indication of the health of the underlying tissue. If you have any concerns regarding the cupping marks please feel free to ask! email@example.com
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