Cupping is an ancient technique that forms part of Chinese Medicine and is sometimes carried out with an acupuncture treatment, depending on the condition being treated.
It can also be combined with other treatments, such as massage, and can be used as an assessment tool.
Cupping increases the circulation of blood. This helps move old, stagnant blood from the muscle tissue and flush it with fresh nutrients. This aids the break-up of knots in the muscles (adhesions), as well as have a positive impact on fascia around the cupping area, allowing for better movement.
Removing congestion and breaking down knots in the muscles will have a positive effect on the lymphatic system and the removal of toxins. Cupping causes “vasodilation” so it can help draw out inflammation, which has been stuck deep down in the muscle tissues. Strained muscles are then released and will feel much easier to move. If carried out over the acupuncture points, it can help regulate the body’s energetic pathways (meridians).
Cupping treatment can cause changes in skin colour on the area of treatment, however this is only temporary. The darker the colour, the more congestion present. The more frequent the treatment, the lighter the colour as issues are lessened and circulation is improved.
In the UK, cupping was widely documented during the Olympics, when swimmer Michael Phelps along with other members of the American Olympic Team were seen with the distinctive circular marks that come from a cupping session. Celebrities such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham have also been fans of cupping.