If you keep up with the latest wellness trends, you’ve probably heard of cupping.
While this therapy has gained popularity in recent years, it’s actually been around for centuries and is one of the oldest methods of releasing toxins from the body’s tissues.
These days, spotting those round red marks on the backs and shoulders of our favourite athletes, celebrities and even your friends and family is becoming more and more common, and for good reason.
Cupping has a range of benefits and can be used to treat many conditions.
If you’re considering cupping, don’t let those bruises put you off. Here we explain what cupping is, how it works and how our team of physiotherapists at Physionorth use it to treat musculoskeletal conditions.
What is cupping therapy?
Cupping is an ancient practice that involves placing cups, made of glass, bamboo, or silicone, onto the skin and then creating a vacuum that sucks the underlying tissue upwards into the cup. The cups are left on your skin for a few minutes as tolerated.
Cupping is used to increase circulation and promote healing in areas of pain and stiffness. By releasing tension and tightness, cupping therapy may help to increase the range of motion, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve function in the affected muscles and fascia.
Cupping therapy is often used to help with musculoskeletal conditions including arthritis, muscle tension, lower back pain, neck pain and knee pain.
How does cupping work?
Cupping therapy promotes healing by increasing blood flow to the affected area. This increased blood flow brings nutrients and oxygen to the tissues that need it most. Additionally, cupping helps to draw impurities and toxins out of deep tissues towards the surface, making it easier for your body to remove them.
The suction created by the cups also has a mechanical effect on the body. As the skin and underlying tissues are pulled upward into the cup, the muscles and fascia are stretched. This helps release tension and tightness and can be great for musculoskeletal conditions.
When is cupping used?
At Physionorth we use cupping to treat several musculoskeletal conditions. Here are just a few:
- Muscle Recovery- Cupping can be used to help your muscles recover after sporting events. Exercise causes waste products and acids like lactic acid to build up. This build-up can contribute to muscle pain and tightness and may lead to a reduced range of motion and an increased risk of injury. Cupping lifts the tissues, increasing blood flow and allowing waste products to drain, replacing them with oxygen and nutrients. This helps to release the tension in muscles and promotes faster recovery.
- Muscle Pain- tight and painful muscles are a common complaint, especially in the back, neck, and shoulders. The pain in your muscles can be caused by a variety of factors including overuse, injury, or poor posture. Cupping for muscle pain aims to reduce pain by releasing tension in the muscles. Patients who suffer from chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, may benefit from cupping.
- Arthritis Pain– while arthritis itself can’t be cured, cupping for arthritis pain aims to relieve painful symptoms of arthritis including; swelling, stiffness, muscle spasms and loss of mobility. For example, if you struggle with muscle spasms in your back, caused by arthritis pain in your hip or knee joint, cupping therapy could be applied to your lower back or hips. This may help to relax the tension and reduce pain associated with arthritis.
It should be noted, cupping therapy may not be right for everyone. This is why it’s very important to seek the advice of a trained and experienced professional before having cupping therapy.
The friendly and experienced physiotherapists at Physionorth will conduct a thorough assessment of your condition and your history before coming up with an individually tailored treatment plan, just for you.
If you’re experiencing pain or stiffness and wondering if cupping may help, book an appointment with the team at Physionorth to chat about cupping and if it might be right for you.
*All information is general in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Physionorth can consult with you to confirm if this advice is right for you.
Physio-pedia. (2023). Cupping Therapy. www.physio-pedia.com/Cupping_Therapy