What is cupping therapy?

Cupping therapy is a practice that involves briefly attaching rounded inverted cups to certain parts of the body using a vacuum effect.  The duration of cupping is usually brief from 5 to 15 minutes and is determined by the patient's comfort level and response to cupping.  It is suggested that the drawing of the skin inside the cups increases blood flow to the area.  Cupping in our office is a very comfortable experience and it may help to relieve pain if there has been poor circulation in the region being cupped.  A common response following the cupping, where there is poor circulation, is a bruised look to the area.  However, the cupping does not create a bruise, but rather this is stagnant blood being brought to the surface by the cupping and at the same time a surge of new blood to the area helps promote healing.  The bruise cupping marks usually go away in a few days.  (We do not do wet cupping in our office.)

In traditional Chinese medicine, cupping is said to stimulate the flow of vital energy (also known as "qi" of "chi") and to help correct any imbalances arising from illness or injury and is sometimes combined with acupuncture treatment.  In China, cupping is a very common treatment.  It has more recently gained popularity among athletes, such as the swimmer Michael Phelps who had it done in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics.  

Cupping is often recommended as a complementary treatment for the following conditions:   back pain, headache or migraine, knee pain, muscle pain and soreness, neck and shoulder pain and sports injuries.

A really great informative video about cupping is shown below.

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