We’ve all seen the hype around cupping as a result of the Olympic athletes at the 2016 Rio games. Especially 23x gold medal winner Michael Phelps. So why are all these elite athletes turning to this ancient therapy? Because it works! That’s why! And because the benefits greatly outweigh the marks that it leaves behind.
What is Cupping? Cupping is an ancient modality which uses a flame to remove the oxygen from the inside of a glass cup which then forms a suction when placed on the body. Healthy capillaries, or tiny little blood vessels, should be flexible enough that they can withstand this suction. However, when they are unhealthy this suction causes them to burst, bringing those dead red blood cells to the surface (“bruising”/cupping marks) and thus allowing fresh, healthy blood to flow through those vessels and nourish the muscles. In Chinese Medicine pain is essentially stagnation: Qi and/or blood that are stuck or not moving. So when you see those cupping marks what you’re actually seeing is pain leaving the body. How cool is that?!
Cupping works almost instantly for promoting circulation, releasing knots and myofascial adhesions, opening the pores & relieving toxins, regulating the nervous system and therefore leading to improved muscle function, reduction in pain, and faster recovery time. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to experience the benefits of cupping, but it sure doesn’t hurt to follow their lead!