Recently, I saw an Under Armour ad showing Michael Phelps receiving fire-cupping. It's a cool ad showing the training, strength, perseverance, and recovery required to be an Olympic athlete. Watch closely at 44 seconds in and you'll see it as part of Phelps' recovery!
Cupping is a traditional Chinese medicine technique used to treat many different conditions. Acupuncturists commonly use cupping as an adjunct to acupuncture, but cupping on its own also provides great benefits.
Cupping involves creating a vacuum-like seal on the skin using bamboo, plastic, or glass cups. There are different techniques to creating this vacuum, such as lighting an alcohol soaked cotton ball inside the cup to create heat or using suction cups.
This suction can affect tissues up to four inches deep- effecting blood vessels, muscles, fascia, and scar tissue. For athletes, cupping speeds recovery after workouts and competitions. No wonder Phelps is using it!
Benefits of Cupping:
Conditions for Cupping:
What most people recognize about cupping are the circular marks left on the skin. These marks are caused by the cellular waste stuck in the muscles being pulled up and deposited under the skin where it can be drained away via the lymphatic system. From an acupuncturist's perspective, the darker the mark, the more waste there is stuck in the muscle. Eventually, with consistent treatments, a person will not have any marks after cupping.
Despite the marks, receiving cupping feels like a pulling away of tension from tight and stiff areas on the body. It can range from gentle to "hurt-so-good."
Have you tried cupping? Any questions before you do?
Thoughts and practical tips to protect your health based in the wisdom of Chinese medicine.
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