What is it?
- a practice used in traditional medicine in several parts of the world, including China and the Middle East. It involves placing a plastic cup onto the skin, then the therapist creates a vacuum in the cup which draws the skin, muscle, and fascia up into the cup.
Cupping increases the blood flow and warms the skin, which makes makes it easier for the therapist to get into the ‘knots' in your muscles.
Once the cup is removed, the skin relays information to the therapist about the underlying tissue. A darker patch on skin would indicate an area of restriction or adhesion (or stagnation) in the muscles. It can then help the therapist to pinpoint exactly where to massage.
Cupping became popular in the U.S. in 2016 after Michael Phelps debuted in the Olympic Rio Games with some strange marks on his body. Phelps strength and conditioning coach, Keenan Robinson, introduced the swimmer to cupping prior to the pan-Pacific championship in 2014. They used this method to quickly recover and relax Phelps muscles after intense workouts. This allows his fascia (a fibrous connective tissue that is present throughout the entire body, not just the muscles) to stay lubricated and the muscles move for freely and easily.
Why use cupping?
Relaxation: suction cups provide a negative pressure on the skin, muscles, and fascia. This is in contrast to the positive pressure of the deep tissue massage, and can be a very relaxing and soothing experience.
Promotes blood circulation speeds up muscle recovery. The negative pressure from the suction allows new blood to flow into that area of tissue with several benefits -
1. Provides a feeling of relief from physical and emotional tensions
2. Begins the healing and regeneration process - the exchange of blood allows the removal of toxins and dead cells
3. Enhances circulation
4. Warms the skin, and softens tissues to regain elasticity
5. Reduces inflammation