Cupping therapy has become the latest fad after the Rio Olympics. You may have noticed that many Olympic athletes, including swimmer Michael Phelps and US gymnast Alex Naddour, had some large purple circles on their backs, shoulders and arms. Those marks were the result of cupping. The treatment is a lot like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. This provides the benefit of increased blood flow to the muscles.

What is Cupping?

Cupping is a core part of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, a therapy that originated in China thousands of years ago.

Essentially there are two types of treatment: dry and wet. Dry cupping involves placing cups (with negative air pressure inside) on the skin to create a suction, which increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed.

Wet cupping is a type of controlled bloodletting by puncturing the skin and using the suction to draw out a small quantity of blood, which are believed to help remove harmful substances and toxins from the body.

How does it work?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture theory, body ailments are caused by poor blood and energy flow. The cupping creates suction and facilitates healing with blood flow, as well as the flow of energy in the body. It helps the tissues receive more nutrients and oxygen, which helps relieve muscle tension, ease stiffness, and promote cellular repair. It can also help sedate the nervous system as well as reduce inflammation.

Like acupuncture, the treatment follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed. Following these meridians, it can target more specific maladies.

What to expect from the therapy?

The treatment will take around 30 mins. The practitioner will do a short consultation to assess your body condition, and then place the cups on your body. The cups are usually left on for 10 to 20 minutes. Cupping is a lot like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. It feels like a deep tissue massage. Most people find it pleasant and relaxing.

What ailments can cupping treat?

  • Helps reduce acute and chronic pain, relax tense muscles and ease stiffness
  • Promotes Relaxation to treat anxiety and depression
  • Boosts Skin Health, reduce herpes, acne and skin inflammation
  • Helps treat respiratory issues and colds
  • Improves digestion and reduce symptoms from stomach pains, diarrhea

Explore cupping therapy at Empower Health, on Commercial Drive, East Vancouver, for only $39!  Book with Kelly today.