After the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, attended the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with dark purple circular marks all over his body, the world became aware of an ancient healing technique that has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years known as cupping.
But what is it, and how exactly does it help? Keep reading to find out!
How it works
Similar to acupuncture, cupping works to regulate your flow of Qi, but instead of placing needles onto pressure points, cups are placed onto the body, and pressure is used to create a vacuum seal that lifts your muscle tissue and skin. More traditionally, fire is used to heat glass cups, and after removing the source of fire, the cups can be placed and vacuumed sealed onto your body. Alternatively, a pump can be used to pressurize and seal cups onto your body to create a similar effect.
Most commonly, cupping treatments are done on a patient’s entire back, but cups can also be placed along your arms and legs.
Cupping has a variety of benefits, especially for athletes and those that are more active, but it can also be used to treat specific conditions and symptoms that are caused by imbalances with your internal energy known as Qi, and help your body flush out toxins.
On a physical level, cupping can help relieve tension and remove any knots within your muscles by pulling on your skin, and muscle tissue known as fascia. If you experience tightness, soreness, or even pain when exercising, it is oftentimes the result of tight and overworked muscle tissue. When the vacuum seals are made, and your skin and muscle is pulled into the cups and released, your fascia can begin returning to its normal shape, without any tightness and knots.
When it comes to your Qi, cupping works using similar principles found in traditional acupuncture. Along your back there are meridians which are the pathways that your Qi travels through, and these pathways are typically tense, and prone to Qi stagnation. Cupping works to relieve this tension so that your Qi can flow freely throughout your body, and in doing so cupping can prevent and treat a variety of conditions.
Cupping can also assist your body in flushing out toxins. From the perspective of Eastern medicine, cupping can draw the toxins within your body to the surface of your skin by manipulating your blood, and in doing so, your body is able to more easily flush them out.
Whether you’re an athlete looking to optimize your recovery, or If you’re an individual with health problems, and you haven’t found the right solution using treatment from Western medicine, we encourage you to explore treatment options used in Eastern medicine such as cupping. Contact us today to learn more!