WHAT IS Cupping?
Cupping is a therapeutic method involving the application of suction to create a vacuum effect on the skin. This is typically achieved through placing silicone or glass cups/jars directly on the skin.
Possibly the most notable, Michael Phelps used this treatment modality during the Rio Olympics. He emerged prior to his race with the undeniable circular markings/bruising from cupping therapy on his back and shoulders. Cupping therapy is indicated for myofascial or muscle overuse injuries as sustained by swimmers due to the extreme overuse of shoulder muscles in an elite swimmer.
WHAT IS HAPPENING DURING A CUPPING TREATMENT?
Suction creates a negative pressure at the skin, causing rupture of capillaries (tiny blood vessels). This leads to the characteristic circular bruising that occurs with cupping. Physiologically this leads to an increase in blood flow to the tissue and a resultant influx of chemical mediators involved in resolving inflammation.
WHAT CONDITIONS ARE APPROPRIATELY TREATED BY THERAPEUTIC CUPPING?
- Osteoarthritis of the Hip/Knee
- Over-training syndromes i.e. Iliotibial band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis
- Rotator cuff tendonitis/tendonosis
- Lumbar and pelvic pain post-pregnancy
- Spinal pain, specifically neck muscle pain related to computer work