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What Exactly Is Cupping?

Cupping isn’t anything new as it’s a very old form of medicine that can be traced back to ancient Chinese cultures. It has many benefits and purposes which include help with inflammation, pain, stagnant blood flow, and overall relaxation.This is done by placing glass, bamboo or silicone cups on a specific area of the body to relieve tension or pain. Cups can be placed and left or can be used in motion depending on what the therapist/personal trainer is trying to achieve with the client/ patient Cupping done for as little as 5-10 minutes can be as beneficial as a 60-minute deep tissue massage.

How Does It Work?

Through suction, it initially pulls blood into an area. The tissues get saturated with fresh blood while the vacuum pulls stagnant blood out of the area. The new blood is forced into the tissues around the cups and the body starts to develop new blood vessels which is called neovascularization. Personally, this is why I believe that cupping can cause a lasting effect. As the new vessels form they will have the capability to feed the tissues with nutrient and oxygen whereas before the stagnation decreases the ability for this to occur. Sterile inflammation is something else that occurs during a cupping process. Remember, inflammation is not necessarily a “bad” word. In some cases that is the furthest thing from the truth! Inflammation is the first line of healing. The body releases white blood cells, platelets, fibroblasts and other healing properties to promote healing within the body. It is our bodies natural way of healing. When the vacuum occurs it causes separation of the layers of tissue which can cause micro trauma and tearing. The body automatically releases the healing properties, mentioned above to start the healing process. The inflammation brought on by cupping is not chronic nor is it “bad”, but quite the opposite.

Better movement is another way that cupping works! fascia and tissue can be stretched several feet with cupping. When you put 5 or 10 cups on the back or around the injured area it can begin to stretch the connective tissue and fascia for better movement. This is when the cupping is a great asset in massage therapy because it decreases the time and work needed in a specific area.

Why should you do it?

1. Pain relief- Cupping targets soft tissue with pressure applied to pain points and areas of swelling. This helps to increase blood flow and give the tissues important nutrients and oxygen. It’s believed to help release tissues deep within the body, relax tense muscles and ease stiffness that’s often associated with neck and back pain, migraines and rheumatism.

2. Relieve cough/ allergy symptoms- Cupping can help to stimulate the lungs. Excess phlegm in the lungs triggers coughing to help bring it out of the body. The practice of cupping can help speed the process to relieve one of nasty cold, cough and allergy symptoms. It also helps boost immune function by moving blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body.

3. Promotes relaxation- After the cups are placed on the skin and suctioned, they generally remain for as long as 20 minutes, which basically forces one to be still and silent, putting them into a more relaxed state as it sedates the central nervous system.

4. Detoxifies- Poor circulation can lead to buildup of toxins inside of the body’s tissues. This buildup can be the root cause of many different health conditions. Cupping helps to improve stagnation, while the blood rushing to the area that’s being treated carries away toxins.

5. Induces inflammation- Inflammation is part of the body’s defense mechanism, which helps kick things into action to help heal illness and injury. If you suffer from a muscular injury, the first thing you probably do is rush to get an ice pack, but when it’s allowed to become inflamed, that actually helps to flood the injured muscle with blood, along with nutrients, platelets, white blood cells and fibroblasts to aid in healing. It helps to heal adhesions, which is why so many athletes have been turning to this therapy. It can helps their body to recover faster from intense workout sessions.

To sum it all up;

Give cupping a try! You may just feel a whole lot better when you are done!

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