What in the World is 'Cupping'? And Why Do It?

Cupping Therapy

If you are suffering from chronic or short term pain, restricted range of motion or fascial adhesions, there are a vast range of therapeutic options I can choose from to help alleviate your discomfort. One option I choose often is myofascial cupping or just ‘cupping’. Cupping can provide great benefits and help you cope with your pain and/or dysfunction. 

What Is Cupping?

Cupping is a form of soft tissue therapy. It provides healing benefits by creating a level of negative pressure and suction. This is accomplished by using a glass or plastic cup - both have proven to be effective. 

 

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During the process, underlying tissues, as well as blood, are pulled up and move close to the surface of the skin. Sometimes the blood being pulled to the skin will leave a dark round mark. 

Unlike other forms of cupping, however, my method of cupping does not require small lacerations in the skin to cause bleeding. Effective cupping does not require the use of needles or scalpels and is a completely nonintrusive procedure. 

There is some debate about when the practice of cupping began. The earliest records suggest that cupping was used in Egypt dating back to 1550 BC. There is evidence of cupping being performed from 281 - 241 AD in Asia. The process has spread to both America and Europe. Cupping has since become a highly popular manual therapy technique and gained quite a bit of notoriety during the 2014 Olympics when Michael Phelps was walking around the pool deck with suction cup marks left on his skin.  The suction cup marks are evident of blood being pulled to the surface of the skin. 

 

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How Does It Work?

The cup is applied to the affected area. The cup is then moved across the area in a gliding motion. Alternatively, the cup may be put on a trigger point or a particular fascial adhesion and the client will move the area. This can help either eliminate or reduce the tightness, pain or restrictions.

Myofascial cupping treatment is provided through a range of different methods. Including massage strokes while negative pressure continues to be created. This helps to separate, lift and stretch soft tissues. The treatment can be applied to a wide range of different areas of the body where a patient may be feeling pain. Common areas include:

 

Back

Neck 

Hip

Abdomen

Thighs

Calves

Upper Arms

 

In certain cases, the treatment can be used to find locations where there are musculoskeletal tension, congestion or adhesions. 

BENEFITS:

Cupping can be used to treat a range of soft tissue conditions as well as common sporting injuries and pain. It may even help some patients relax, due to the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.  Many times I use cupping when patients have had prior success or other modalities have not been effective. 

 

If you are interested in learning more about this treatment (or others we provide) and how it could benefit you, please contact us.  We will be happy to assist you and ensure that you get the right treatment option for the pain you are experiencing. 

 

Author
Dr. Ed hanging out in his 'cave' Ed Le Cara, DC, PhD, MBA, ATC, CSCS Co-Owner and lead clinician, Dr. Ed (as he is affectionately known in the clinic) is a board certified sports medicine and rehabilitation expert who has over 20 years experience helping people live a healthy and active lifestyle. He is a blend of manual therapist, strength and conditioning coach, athletic trainer, and researcher which provides a rare perspective on healthy living. While wrestling in college, Ed tore 3 out of 4 ligaments in his knee and rehabilitated (without surgery) with the guidance from his chiropractor, his athletic trainer and his college strength and conditioning coach. This rehabilitation experience helps bring a unique, empathetic and caring perspective when individuals need guidance overcoming their own ailments, limitations or injuries. Instead of needing to go to multiple professionals, you get all in one making Body Lounge Park Cities a one-stop shop for helping you pursue optimal health thru nutrition and an active lifestyle. Dr. Ed works with patients from 8 years old on.

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