Cupping – Is it your cup of tea?

-  Submitted by Loudoun Physical Therapy

What is cupping?

Cupping therapy is an alternative therapy dating back to ancient Egypt, China, and the Middle East.  Although cupping has been around for centuries, it was recently made famous again during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The purpose of cupping is to pull blood to a particular region of the body that is inflamed or painful to help stimulate healing.  It is also effective at separating tight muscle tissues or fused tissue layers by decreasing the scar tissue to increase blood flow to the area which in turn, increases range of motion and flexibility.

Cupping can use cups of different sizes, shapes, and material (glass, plastic, or rubber).  There are several types of cupping techniques available.  One form of cupping uses suction which manually draws out air with a hand help pump.  With either technique, it creates the section and the skin is pulled up into the cup causing blood to pool in the target area stretching the superficial fascia.

Cupping is generally painless and may complement manual therapy for muscle problems.

Why would I want cupping?

Cupping has numerous benefits:

Will cupping work for me?

Recent studies have shown cupping to decrease pain in patients with shoulder and neck pain as well as knee arthritis.  The British Cupping Society suggests cupping may help with blood disorders, arthritis, fibromyalgia, fertility, eczema, acne, high blood pressure, migraines, anxiety, depression, and varicose veins.  To find out if cupping is right for you, check with your physical therapist to see if they would recommend incorporating cupping into your plan of care.

-  Submitted by Loudoun Physical Therapy

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