I am sure many of you recently have seen and heard about athletes and celebrities with cupping marks on their body. You might have Googled “cupping” and came across pictures with rounded marks all over someone’s body.  In the past few weeks, I have received multiple inquiries on what exactly cupping is and how it can benefit you. With proper use and techniques, cupping treatment is a great method to alleviate your symptoms. Please continue to read on for more in-depth information on cupping and its benefits.
  Cupping is one type of treatment used by Oriental Medicine doctors. Oriental Medicine consists of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Moxibustion, Tai Chi/Qi Gong, Tui Na (Therapeutic Massage), and Dietary Therapy. Cupping treatment uses small glass or plastic suction devices which are applied over your skin. Once cupping has been applied to your skin, they are left on the skin for about 5-10 minutes. The location of your cupping is determined by your acupuncturist and it depends on your medical conditions and chief complaints. Cupping is similar to Tui Na or therapeutic massage which targets certain acupuncture points or body parts to bring healing and relief. Cupping works similarly to massage but inversely, meaning that instead of applying pressure to muscles, suction pulls the muscles upward. Cups can be moved gently across your body which is called “gliding cupping” to work on certain muscle groups and a wide range of body parts.
5 Great Benefits of Cupping
  1. Relief of Musculoskeletal Dysfunctions – Cupping is a great treatment option for muscle spasms and tightness, sports injuries, and overuse injuries. Suctioning creates the pulling of blood and energy (“qi”) to the intended area with increased circulation which allows for the loosening of muscles, fascia, and skin.
  2. Relief of Headaches and Stress-Related symptoms – Stress is a big factor in our lives and causes much discomfort and many distractions. Cupping with gliding techniques is great for releasing tension in the neck and shoulders to relieve headaches, anxiety, chest discomfort, and problems with breathing.
  3. Detoxification of the Body – Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies as it can work up to 4 inches deep from the surface. With long term use of medication, smoking, or unhealthy diet, toxins can be built over time and stay in the surface area of our bodies. These toxins can cause a decrease of immune system function, skin disease, and other underlying issues of health. With deep-tissue cupping, we can help release toxins out of our body.
  4. Strengthening of Respiratory System – Cupping is used in addition to acupuncture to alleviate respiratory symptoms including asthma, chest congestion, and coughing.
  5. Decreasing of Blood Pressure – Use of cupping increases proper circulation of blood and overall relaxation of the body which helps to lower your blood pressure.
What are the Marks?
  Many people are curious and disturbed by the marks cupping leaves after treatment. Cupping can leave dark, red, circular marks where the cups were positioned. With suctioning, it pools the blood flow directly in to the area thereby leaving what look like bruises. Even though it can look painful, the marks are a normal response to cupping treatment and indicate that the proper technique was used. Of course, if used improperly, wrong cupping/suctioning techniques, prolonged treatment, or excessive use of cupping treatment can cause adverse effects such as infection and injuries to the skin surface.
  In conclusion, cupping therapy is an option for acupuncturists to apply for certain diagnoses and conditions. An acupuncturist needs to properly diagnose and determine that a patient is appropriate for cupping therapy. If you have any questions or want to discuss how cupping therapy can benefit your current condition, please feel free to email or call us.