I’ll never forget the first time I saw those big, round, purple marks on a person’s back that is left after a cupping therapy session. I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try myself. As a lover of deep tissue massage, it looked painful and relaxing all at the same time and I couldn’t wait to make my own appointment.
Cupping was recently made popular by gold medalist Michael Phelps during the 2016 Olympic Games when his shoulders and back were peppered with perfectly round purple circles. It got the modern world talking about and interested in an ancient Chinese alternative form of medicine.
What Is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping therapy is an ancient therapy dating back to 1500 B.C. and was used in Middle Eastern, Egyptian, and Chinese cultures. It uses small glass or plastic cups that are placed on a person’s skin and either heated up or used with a rubber pump to create a suction effect. Think of it as the opposite of massage therapy, in that the skin and muscles are pulled up into the cups instead of being pushed down. The cups can then be slid around and strategically placed on areas of the body that are needing treatment, and then they are left to sit for 10-15 minutes. After the treatment is finished the cups are simply released and removed. The marks that are left are usually not painful.
One of the most widely used purposes of cupping is for pain relief. Back, shoulder, knee, neck, and hip pain are the most common uses. The act of creating suction and pulling the muscles up instead of applying pressure on them can relieve the pain by drawing more blood to the area. The added blood means more oxygen to promote healing, and the decreased pressure can help relieve tight muscles.
Relieves The Symptoms Of A Cold And Cough
Have you ever suffered from a nagging cough? Cupping therapy might be a solution for you. Cupping can aid in breaking up mucus that’s causing chest congestion and also help clear the lungs, making it a viable treatment for those who struggle with asthma.
Helps With Digestion
Digestive issues are a common complaint, but reaching for a pill isn’t your only option. Cupping therapy has been shown to help relieve stress which has a direct impact on digestion. Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and loss of appetite can all be improved by incorporating cupping therapy into your self-care routine.
Increased Blood Flow
The benefits of increased blood flow to your body is reason enough for adding cupping therapy to your list of things to try. Increased blood flow means nutrients are distributed throughout your body quicker, your wounds will heal faster, it helps keep your heart and organs healthy, and promotes healthy skin. Issues with poor circulation or decreased blood flow is an indicator of poor health.
The body needs time for relaxation as this is when healing can take place. Relaxation promotes stress release, and stress release promotes a myriad of improved health functions. In my experience, cupping therapy is an enjoyable experience and one that leaves my muscles feeling relaxed and my mind rejuvenated.
Improve Circulation Of Lymph Fluid
The lymphatic system is known as the body’s second circulatory system. It is a crucial component of your immune system as it carries white blood cells to your body to help fight disease and it also carries waste away. Having a lymph system that functions properly is imperative to good health. The use of cupping therapy can aid in keeping your lymphatic system flowing optimally and keep inflammation at bay.
Enhance Athletic Performance
If you are an athlete, you are always looking at ways to improve your skill. Decreased pain, improved digestion, increased blood and lymph flow, and muscles void of knots and tension will all help to increase athletic performance. This is why it is not uncommon to see the trademark cupping circles on athletes such as Michael Phelps. Since cupping therapy is a good option for all the reasons listed earlier in this article, it’s a perfect addition to the athletes’ routine for enhancing their performance.
To sum it all up, cupping therapy is a good alternative therapy to consider adding to your routine. You can increase your blood flow and your healing with minimal side effects. Always make sure the practitioner you choose is reputable and one you feel comfortable with. You may just find that it takes care of pain you thought you had no choice but to live with.