Why Olympic Athletes Use Cupping

cupping on the upper backThose little bruises on Michael Phelps shoulders stimulated huge interest in cupping therapy.

It started the Olympic cupping craze!

Cupping is extremely useful for athletes and sport enthusiasts (not to mention those with chronic back pain or neck pain).  This is because it helps with pain, soreness, stiffness and immobility.

How does cupping work?

Cupping creates a vacuum in a glass or plastic cup.  This pulls the skin, connective tissue, and muscle up and results in the classic cupping bruise.

Cupping can help muscle soreness and pain after a workout.  Cupping has been shown to reduce inflammation from a strenuous workout.

Cupping helps with acute injuries to reduce inflammation and begin the healing process.

How old is cupping?

Cupping is an ancient technique with developed in Asia thousands of years ago and spread throughout the world.

In ancient times, wooden bamboo cups were used.  These cups can also be dipped in medicine and placed on the body allowing the medicine to be absorbed in the area of the cup.

What cups do you use?

We use glass or plastic cups depending on the technique we want to use.

Flash fire cupping is a technique which the cups are rapidly moved around one area of the body, like the upper back or lower back. Glass cups are best for this.

Sliding cupping is a technique which an oils is put on the skin.  The cups are stuck and then moved along the channels of the back.

Wet cupping is a technique which an acupuncture point is pricked and the cup is placed over this.  The suction of the cup draws out a little blood.  This technique is effective to reduce inflammation for acne, rosacea, and acute back spasms. For this I use a plastic disposable cup.

Facial Cupping

There is also a technique of facial cupping.  This is very gentle and super relaxing!  It does not leave cupping bruises. This can be used for facial rejuvenation or temporomandibular joint pain.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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