By Ashley Krieger, LMT, CCT Massage Therapist, Cupping Therapist
Cupping therapy has recently been gaining a lot of media attention. From celebrities sporting cupping marks on the red carpet, to professional athletes using this treatment as part of their pre- and post-event health regimens, many are skeptical and confused: What is Cupping Therapy? Does it work? What’s the deal with those spots?
Cupping Therapy: Application and Benefits
Cupping therapy is the act of using negative pressure (suction) to lift the soft tissues of the body. This draws rigid
connective tissue and muscle away from underlying structures, and pulls built up stagnate blood, metabolic waste and other fluids to the surface of the body. Cups can be made out of silicone, rubber, glass, or even bamboo and can be left in place or applied and moved along the body.
Like chiropractic and massage therapy, forms of cupping therapy have been practiced for thousands of years as a healing method. Today, many types of practitioners use this therapy for a wide range of benefits: myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, decreasing muscle tension, hormone balancing, body detoxes, and energy balancing, just to name a few. Cupping therapy should not be painful and can be deep and therapeutic or gentle and relaxing depending on the patient’s preference and the desired result of the treatment.
The most off-putting and misunderstood part of this therapy is the markings sometimes left after the cups are removed. These colorful “poka-dots” are normal and should not be painful. However, they are NOT BRUISES but could be better described as a hicky. Bruising is caused by trauma to the body resulting in ruptured blood vessels. Cupping marks, on the other hand, are caused by stagnate blood, fluids, and toxins being pulled out of areas of injury or compromised circulation.
Once brought to the surface these waste products can be expelled through the lymphatic and circulatory systems. The result is an increase of circulation, oxygen, and nutrients to tissues, promoting faster regeneration and healing. These markings will disappear anywhere from two hours to two weeks after treatment, depending on the amount of stagnation and how well you are hydrated. The more frequently you cup, the less severe the marks will become as your body processes and eliminates fluid built up.
In February, I attended an intensive three-day seminar on cupping therapy and learned about benefits and applications. Since then I have become a certified cupping therapist and have been incorporating it into my massage treatments. Results have been overwhelmingly positive, and I am truly amazed at how effective and versatile this treatment has been.
Here are some of the benefits I have observed:
- Decreased muscle tension
- Myofascial release:
- More effective, less painful, and quicker than other methods of myofascial release. For more information on fascia visit our previous post- Foam Rolling: Science or Fitness Fad?
- More effective and comfortable spinal adjustments:
- The cups are able to quickly relax muscles and connective tissue in between vertebrae that are not accessible by traditional massage.
- Increased benefits of traditional massage:
- Patients have shared that they experience better and longer lasting results from their massage treatments with the addition of cupping therapy.
- Increased flexibility and sports performance
- Effective treatment for injuries and chronic conditions, such as:
- General muscle pain and/or soreness
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Lower back pain
- TMJ disorder
- TFL/IT band syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Muscle spasms
- Trigger points
- Fibromyalgia pain
- Postural abnormalities
- Myofascial Pain
- Sinus congestion
- Scar tissue
- Swelling caused by decreased lymph flow
Here is an inside look!
Cupping Therapy can be a stand alone treatment or can be easily integrated into a relaxation or deep tissue massage. To experience cupping therapy for yourself, call Mt Hood Chiropractic (503.492.6851) and make an appointment with Ashley Krieger.
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