Ever since Michael Phelps’ infamous cupping marks during the 2016 Olympics, cupping therapy has gained more popularity and praise. But cupping isn’t just for Olympians – you too can discover some of the amazing benefits of cupping, particularly if you want to relieve chronic pain and stress. Not a lot of people are familiar with cupping therapy and how it actually helps patients so we thought it would be helpful to break it down in today’s blog! Keep reading to learn more about cupping, how it works, and why you should consider giving Livewell cupping a try.
First Things First: What is Cupping?
Cupping was developed thousands of years ago in China and allows for a unique approach to fascia and the body. To explain it simply, cupping involves placing a plastic cup on your skin to create a vacuum by suctioning out the air. This suction results in your underlying tissue being raised partway into the cup that facilitates healing due to increased blood flow, affecting your deeper tissue, removing fascial restrictions, and increasing your range of motion.
At Livewell Health and Physiotherapy, each cupping treatment is unique to each client and can be tailored to reflect your needs. Depending on your initial assessment and comfort level the cups will either be moved around in a massage-like manner or left place and either left on the body briefly or or left in place for a period of time (either briefly or for longer). This treatment will make your skin temporarily discolour wherever the cups were placed or moved (think back to Michael Phelps at the Olympics) that can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Although this discolouration can look a little intimidating, we want to assure you that cupping is not a painful treatment and the tight sensation is actually quite soothing. Some of the many benefits of cupping include:
The suction from the cups will increase blood flow and circulation to the areas on which the cups are placed. This is great for people experiencing physical pain and inflammation because the improved blood circulation will speed up the recovery process. Cupping attracts immune cells to the suctioned areas to reduce swelling and repair time. Increased blood flow may also promote cell repair, help form new connective tissues, and create new blood vessels in the tissue itself.
Relieved Muscle Tension
When your muscles are tense, they are compressed and have poor circulation that leads to weaker muscles, pain, posture imbalance, and toxin build up. Since cupping is a great detoxification (drawing stagnant fluids toward the surface of the skin), fresh nutrient-rich blood is also attracted to the area which will help loosen tight muscles. Cupping is most commonly used to relieve tight muscles in the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, legs, or arms.
Cupping also soothes the nervous system so it can be very helpful for treating stress, insomnia, and anxiety. Your parasympathetic nervous system is engaged when our therapist moves a cup across your skin that encourages deep relaxation. Cupping can help out your parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for slowing your heart rate, assisting in digestion, and increasing intestinal and gland activity. We often recommend combining cupping with acupuncture because doing so will release endorphins that may help you manage the root cause of mental stress or anxiety.
Outside of the physical and mental benefits of cupping therapy, there are some more cosmetic benefits that you could experience as well. Due to the increase in blood flow and releasing of toxins, cupping can reduce the appearance of stretch marks, scars, and cellulite when done regularly. Cupping can also make your varicose veins and spider veins appear lighter as fresh blood flow and oxygen are brought back into these areas.
We hope this blog helped you learn a little bit more about cupping therapy and how you can benefit from it! Think cupping might be for you? Contact our Livewell Health and Physiotherapy Kitchener and Baden teams to get more information and book your next appointment.
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