What is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping Therapy involves the placement of small or medium sized cups, made of either glass or plastic, directly on specific areas of the body. Suction is applied to the cup, causing it to gently draw up skin and superficial muscle tissue into the cup. This creates a space between the fascia and muscle layer, allowing for increased blood flow to the specific area. Most patients experience this as a pleasant sensation, much like massage. Suctioned cups are generally left in place for 5 to 10 minutes while the patient relaxes.
Cupping has been shown in the national spotlight due to the unique marks seen on Olympians Michael Phelps, Alex Naddour, and Pavel Sankovich at the 2016 Summer Olympics. While these high-profile athletes may have contributed in a small way to further awareness of Cupping Therapy, the practice can be beneficial for nearly everyone, not just those who follow a rigorous athletic schedule.
What Does It Treat?
Cupping Therapy is excellent for the treatment of tight or sore muscles, particularly in the back, neck, and shoulder areas. Because it increases blood flow, cupping relieves pain and soreness and can reduce inflammation. It can also be used to reduce stress and anxiety, making it a great adjunctive therapy for hypertension.
When placed on the back, behind the lungs, cupping can be useful for the treatment of pulmonary diseases such as COPD, bronchitis, and asthma. Cupping can loosen phlegm in the lungs, open up the airways, and promote deeper breathing, which in turn can calm the nervous system and have an overall beneficial effect on whole body wellness.
Cupping can also help the body flush out unwanted toxins from the superficial tissues and assist the body in proper fluid metabolism. In addition, cupping is an excellent treatment modality for breaking up adhesions and improving the appearance of cellulite.