Cupping therapy is an ancient healing method that originated in China and West Asia thousands of years ago. It is used by many acupuncturists, chiropractors and massage therapists in conjunction with their treatments to decrease pain and inflammation, while increasing blood flow and circulation. In Chinese medicine, cupping is considered a muscle “detox” and helps to break up stagnant blood that causes pain and spasms.
The practitioner uses suction cups on the back, hips, shoulders, arms, and/or legs to draw blood to the surface, which sometimes breaks the capillaries. This is what causes the dark circular bruises that you see on professional athletes. The cups are usually only left on for 5 to 10 minutes and it feels like someone is squeezing you. Most patients consider cupping both slightly intense, yet strangely soothing. The best part is the cupping release when the cups come off. This causes an instant feeling of relief and reduced spasms. Patients that get cupping once a week report the most benefits from this treatment.
Fun Fact: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps made cupping popular during the Olympics years ago and cupping therapy has become more mainstream now.