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cupping therapy 101

What is Cupping Therapy?

Long used by the Chinese in their traditional medicine practices, cupping has gained increasing popularity in recent years. After the 2016 Summer Olympics when the internet ignited with Google searches inquiring about the marks Michael Phelps was sporting on his back, cupping therapy heightened in awareness and application. So, what exactly is cupping therapy and how does it work? Is it just for athletes or can anyone utilize cupping therapy for their ailments? Are there side effects to worry about? Keep reading to learn more about the treatment and how it can help with a variety of ailments.

How does cupping therapy work?

Cupping therapy is a treatment where rounded inverted cups are briefly attached to certain parts of your body using a vacuum effect. While in the past flammable substances like alcohol, herbs or paper were ignited to create the suction, today, most practitioners use electric, manual or self-suctioning cupping sets. Once the cups are placed on the body—typically between three and seven cups per session—they stay in place for five to ten minutes before being removed.

What are the benefits of cupping therapy?

Cupping therapy is believed to increase blood flow due to the skin being drawn inside the cups. The therapy is typically used to treat chronic pain. Backaches and headaches are the most commonly treated conditions. In addition, cupping can also relieve inflammation. By improving the blood flow to the area, you are attracting immune cells there, which can speed up the recovery and repair process to reduce swelling.

Who is cupping therapy for?

Cupping therapy can be utilized by anyone experiencing chronic musculoskeletal pain. While anyone can take advantage of the benefits of cupping therapy, the treatment is most widely utilized by athletes. That is because cupping therapy reduces inflammation and can help speed up recovery. Athletes experiencing back or shoulder injuries often undergo cupping therapy to help them get back on the field, ice, or court faster.

Are there side effects of cupping therapy?

If you are considering cupping therapy, it is important to think about the pros and cons. There are some possible side effects that can result from cupping therapy, though they are short-lived. The areas where the cups are placed and vacuum sealed will turn to bruises, leaving circular purple marks on the skin. These will fade after a few days, but their presence can still be noted for two to three weeks after the treatment.  In addition, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded after the treatment, and some people are known to feel a bit of nausea. Again, these are short-lived side effects, but it is important to be prepared before going in for treatment.  

Who can perform cupping therapy services?

In order to mitigate side effects, you should have someone trained and experienced in cupping, like a Licensed Massage Therapist, Sports Therapist, or Doctor. These professionals will understand the areas where cupping can and cannot be done and will ensure that the treatment is done properly. If you are looking for cupping therapy in Williamsville by an experienced massage therapist, contact B Well Massage & Esthetics today to schedule your appointment!

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