Cupping: History, Uses and the Purple Spots

Written by: Holly Date of published: .

If you’ve watched TV, checked Facebook, or been online at all, it’s likely you have seen pictures of a certain swimmer with large purplish spots on his body. You may have even heard the term “cupping” and have a brief idea of what it is. Besides of leaving you with the polka dots on your body what does it actually do?

IS IT SAFE? AND WHAT’S WITH THE SPOTS?

Cupping is a technique that is considered generally safe. The “purple spots” are a side effect, which is reddening of the skin from blood vessel dilation.  If done too aggressively, it can damage skin.  That is why you should only see a professional who is trained in this type of treatment.

FROM ANCIENT WISDOM TO MODERN USE:

Cupping is associated with Ancient Chinese Medicine. Acupuncturists typically use needles to stimulate energy points on the body, but sometimes they use Cupping on the energy points to achieve a different effect.  Modern Western use of cupping is different. They even call it something different:  Myofascial Decompression.  It is intended to lift tissues apart, to increase circulation and release adhesions.  The addition of stretches while cups are on the skin enhances the effect. Needless to say it’s proved itself as a useful tool that stands the test of time but research on effects and benefits are still ongoing.

BUT HOW IS IT DONE? AND DOES IT WORK?

The modern technique of Myofascial Decompression (cupping) uses plastic cups and a hand-held vacuum pump to pull air out and draw the skin up.  Yes, it works quite well.

Surprisingly, it is not just skin that is being “drawn” up. It’s also the subcutaneous superficial fascia and some layers of muscle as well. Once the vacuum has been created the cups are left in place between 5-15 minutes with time being based on reaction and sensitivity of the client. The idea is to PULL instead of PUSH on the tissue for a change.  By using the cup to pull up one layer, and movements to stretch the layer underneath, muscle pliability, range of motion, and blood flow can be improved.

IS THERE SCIENCE TO BACK IT UP?  SHOULD I TRY IT?

We’re working on it!  The use of cupping in Modern/Western style (as opposed to Chinese/Eastern style) is relatively new.  There are some studies currently under way, but nothing conclusive is published yet.  The best we have are the individual experiences of elite athletes like Swimmers Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian, as well as Olympic Gymnast Alex Naddour.  If you have stubborn tightness in muscles, this is a therapy you really should try!

Treatments are available in both Dynamic Touch locations.  Book with Kathy, Katcha and Cindi.

Holly

(obeid) met in 2015 Hollyin 2016 Tanumoy Nov 2017

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