There’s a lot going on in the media right now about Michael Phelps and his “purple spots” or circles. If you haven’t seen it, heard it, or read by now than (like me who just found out yesterday evening) he received a procedure called “Cupping”. We can read about cupping and the benefits anywhere on the Internet right now. I’m going to write about what you should know about cupping and give you my actual testimony.
What You Should Know About Cupping
Let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly… literally the ugly. Cupping is an ancient Chinese technique that can be used in combination with acupuncture and massage. The treatment can also just be done on its own with no other particular accompaniment.
How Cupping Works
Glass suction cups are used to suck up the skin and create negative pressure. The pressure actually helps loosen the muscles and encourage blood flow, as well as sedate the nervous system. Cupping is said to balance the “Qi” (vital life force in Chinese Medicine). By using the cupping method, or even acupuncture, energy is redistributed evenly throughout the body in areas that may be needing it.
At an appointment you will need to give the therapist your medical history, medications, and of course talk about what brings you in to the appointment. Most places use the dry cupping method. Which is dry cups, lotion on the skin, and suction. Wet cupping is a combination of suction and controlled medicinal bleeding. Sometimes procedures even light herbs on fire inside the cups and once placed on the skin the fire goes out. The cupping is generally left in place for anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
The Benefits of Cupping
Cupping is great for:
- Relieving back pain, neck, and shoulder pain
- Relieving headaches or migraines
- Loosening stiff muscles
- Eliminating fatigue
- Removing toxins
- Eliminating spider veins or stretch marks
- Reducing cellulite
- Relieving pain from rheumatism
- Relieving anxiety
The Downside to Cupping
Let’s just be real… with the positive comes the negative. We can’t always just talk about the benefits without talking about side effects or contraindications of procedures.
One downside is the purple “hickey-like” bruising that occurs immediately. This bruising can last anywhere from a few days to a week depending on your body and its abilities. If you’re going to an event, getting married, going on honeymoon or vacation… then forget about cupping beforehand!
Besides the bruises, there may be mild discomfort or possible skin infection if one doesn’t properly care for their skin and body after. It is recommended not to go to the gym after a treatment, don’t go in a sauna, and don’t do anything that may compromise your immune system.
Cupping should be avoided if you’re pregnant, have metastatic cancer, have a bone fracture, have muscle active muscle spams (get acupuncture instead), have an ulcer, or if you have deep vein thrombosis.
My Experience with Cupping
I recently had cupping done to my back, and while everyone has different experience and different outcomes, don’t let my experience steer you away from trying it! Not saying it was a bad experience, but once you see the pictures you might think “oh no!” but its not that bad. Read about my experience with cupping.