Did you notice the photos of Michael Phelps' during the Men's 4x100 freestyle relay swim which won him a gold. It's always riveting watching an Olympic swimming competition, but what's got just as much media buzz is the purple marks along his upper body.
Phelps' large purple dots are the result of a super old Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy known as "Cupping." Many athletes, celebrities, and yes, even many of us regular folks, have taken to Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies like acupuncture and cupping to address concerns and optimize health.
What Is Cupping?
Cupping involves applying a glass or plastic open ended globes to skin at different sites on the body. Classical methods involve heating the glass globes with a small flame to create a vacuum so it sticks to the skin. However, plastic options can be applied which do not require heat but use tiny levers to create suction.
The purpose of the suction is to lift of the soft tissue beneath the area it's on. Cups can be left in place or moved around a site of concern. This increases blood flow, kneads out tension and breaks up scar tissue.
Discolouration is due to the suction breaking superficial capillaries in the skin, however, this is temporary and usually fades within a week's time.
What Does It Feel Like?
You may associate this type of bruising with pain, but when cupping is done correctly *by a trained professional* it's not uncomfortable and can be relaxing. The sensation that people can expect when having cupping done properly is pressure, warmth and some tightness where the cup is placed but there shouldn't be intense discomfort. Think of it like a deep tissue massage.
What Are The Benefits of Cupping?
Can you believe that cupping is a 3,000 year old practice? People find that cupping helps to reduce muscle soreness, increase range of motion, speed healing and improve mobility. Many providers of this therapy have also used it to help with other things such as poor circulation, immune health and anxiety.
Cupping At WIN
Our Registered Massage Therapist, Amanda Cajucom, utilizes cupping. It is another example of how our providers maintain an eclectic approach in their health care so they can better help the patients they are working with.
If you want to try cupping for your sore muscles or to see what all the fuss is about, contact us to arrange a time to meet and discuss this therapy with Amanda at WIN Health Solutions Niagara.
Or... If you want to use acupuncture in your care, visit one of our physiotherapists, chiropractors or our naturopathic doctor as all the WIN providers have extensive experience using acupuncture to help people address their health concerns.