What’s all the buzz about cupping?

What’s all the buzz about cupping?

ACuppings many of you know, cupping was featured at the recent Olympic Games in Brazil. What’s the buzz? Why are so many athletes cupping?

Cupping is an ancient method, taught in all schools of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, and in many massage schools. Utilizing either glass cups and a flame to create a vacuum (note, the flame doesn’t come near the patient!), or plastic cups that use a manual pumping method, the cups are applied to areas of muscular tension, fascia adhesion or restriction, or areas of pain. The gentle pressure pulls the tissue up and away from the body. What this does is gently stretch the tissue, and can also release adhesions (areas where past injury or shortening have caused the tissue to become “stuck” to surrounding structures). This helps restore the full range of motion in the muscle, and helps reduce pain and tension and strain on the nearby joints.

When cups are applied with very strong suction, they also pull blood from the capillaries which can cause the dark circles of bruising you see on the photo of Michael Phelps. Here at Jade River, we tend to cup in ways that don’t leave such dark cup marks, as they can be painful, and a darker circle doesn’t necessarily mean better results.

When to use cupping? Cupping is appropriate especially for areas of chronic muscle tension, tightness, and restricted range of motion. It can also be used to help in the recovery from injury, auto accidents and in chronic pain such as fibromyalgia. And, if you’ve experienced the sore muscles of overdoing it as a weekend warrior, in a yoga class or a long run, cupping is a way to quickly lessen that pain, and restore your function.

Cupping is also performed by acupuncturists on the back when people are ill with bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma or colds or flu. This can help move fluid and phlegm from the lungs, open space in the chest to help ease shortness of breath, and promote recovery.

When not to cup? If you have a bleeding disorder, have cancer, or are very weak or frail.

All of our acupuncturists and some of our massage therapists perform cupping. All have received advanced training in cupping and in the safe application of this modality. Whether you want to improve your performance as an athlete, recover from an injury or accident, or are recovering from an upper respiratory illness, we’d love to help! Call our office to find out more, or schedule an appointment with one of our providers.