Cupping is a therapeutic technique that has recently gained large popularity in the media. This is mostly due to various olympic athletes performing events with round bruises covering their bodies. Although this technique is just now becoming widely seen and used, it has roots dating back to traditional Chinese medicine.
Cupping therapy utilizes a suction device as well as plastic cups in order to create a vacuum effect on a select point on a patient's body. Massage cream is also utilized during cupping to mobilize the cups over a broader area. This allows our therapists to cause desired effects over a larger body part.
The benefits of cupping are much like those of massage. These benefits can include:
Traditional massage techniques largely include compression of a patient's muscles as well as connective tissue. Cupping therapy techniques instead include decompression of a patient's muscles as well as connective tissue. This decompression effect can be more beneficial as it allows more separation between muscles and the surrounding connective tissues.
Additionally, the negative pressure created from cupping helps improve blood flow and the release of hormones (kinin, histamine, prostaglandins, serotonin, etc.), which helps to stimulate the healing process. The negative pressure also helps to destroy latent (non-functional) blood and lymphatic capillaries, thereby leading to the regeneration of new capillary beds. This results in an increased supply of oxygen/nutrients to the area and helps with toxin removal.
Although light bruising can sometimes be a non-harmful side effect of cupping, it is not a typical reaction. Any post treatment bruising/redness is typically resolved within 24 to 48 hours.