Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is one of Chinese medicine's oldest ways of treatment. Writings mention this way of helping people heal from problems can be found as far back as 28AD. However, cupping has been exported from China for centuries and was used in many European countries and even America.

In fact, Jack tells a story about while he was practicing in Portugal. An 80 year old patient of his told him that her grandmother used to use cupping therapy on her when she was a little girl.

Contrary to its appearance, cupping does not hurt, in fact it feels much like getting a good massage. Many people, after having this treatment one time, begin requesting it.

If you watched the summer Olympics in Brazil there is no doubt that you saw the purple circles on the backs of many of the US swimmers. Those marks are caused by cupping. This has since become one of the most asked about therapies in our clinic.

This amazing form of therapy is so useful that many western physical therapists and massage therapists have begun to adopt this classical Chinese medical technique.

In Western science it is called myofascial decompression. That is just a fancy way of saying what the goal of the treatment is. The process of cupping is to create a small vacuum in the cup while it is attached to the body. This vacuum pulls and stretches the skin, connective tissue, and muscle apart. This stretching apart creates space which allows for better blood circulation. The improved circulation releases muscle tension.  It is also thought that it creates a local vasodilation. Additionally, because there is some bruising that takes place, your body will send white blood cells and macrophages to the area. These are sent there in an attempt to heal the trauma of the bruise. However they will also heal the local injury that you had before received cupping in the first place. This is especially important with chronic injuries. When any injury has existed for a long time, the body will sometimes start to ignore it. Cupping this helps the body to re-recognize that there is a problem there. 

 When you receive cupping there will usually be a small amount of purplish marking in the area where the cupping was. This marking usually goes away within a week. Traditional Chinese medical thought is that the worse the mark is, the worse the blood circulation is in that area. We will often reapply the cups after the marks have healed and see how much marking that we get again. This is done over and over until there is no more marking. That is usually a sign that the local circulation has improved and cupping is not necessary anymore.  

Next time you are in the clinic we can talk about it and see if cupping is right for your complaint.Please contact us with any further questions or to schedule and appointment.