Cupping: The Therapy of Choice of Olympians
WHAT IS CUPPING?
There has been a lot of press recently on this ancient method of pain relief from China. Why would Olympic athletes trust this method to help them maintain top-notch performance while competing for the highest achievement honors in the world?
Because it works to alleviate muscle soreness, spasm, and tension. By creating a superficial ‘bruise’ with the suction, the body’s natural healing response is triggered to repair the ‘damaged’ area.
Cupping Therapy is the method of using glass, plastic, bamboo, or suction cups to create localized pressure by a vacuum. Chinese medicine practitioners have been using this healing modality for thousands of years. In ancient times they utilized this technique by using heat inside glass or bamboo cups. Acupuncturists and Chinese Medicine practitioners/doctors of today also use plastic “suction” cupping sets, which also uses a suction to create vacuum type of feel. The “vacuum” made inside the cups causes the blood to form in the area and help the healing in that area. (This “vacuum” technique is utilized by all cupping instruments mentioned above)
Cupping therapy has been found in ancient records dating back 3500 years and it is still used today by many Acupuncturists & Chinese Medicine practitioners/doctors. New advancement in technology and materials have been integrated with cupping therapies and its uses now range for many different treatments and applications.
In Acupuncture & Chinese medicine we utilize several methods of usage with “cupping”, depending upon the patients needs. Only Acupuncturist Physicians and Doctors of Chinese medicine have enough knowledge, clinical experience, & expertise to differentiate the appropriate diagnostic and treatment method for each individual patient.
Acupuncture & Chinese medicine practitioners/doctors use cupping for several different purposes. Here are a few:
1. The body contains Meridians. These meridians are energetic pathways in the body which the energy of life called Qi (“chi”) flows through. It flows through every body part, tissue. and organs. Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are many meridian pathways within the body which these suction cups can be placed. Using these meridian (energetic) pathways, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian (energetic) pathways, cupping strives to ‘open’ these channels – the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force). Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials. Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be ‘cupped,’ thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points.
This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person’s asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common maladies that cupping is used to relieve. Three thousand years ago, in the earliest Chinese documentation of cupping, it was recommended for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. Cupping is also used for facial rejuvenation.
2. Lympathic toxins released – the healing aspect of cupping therapy is through the release of toxins in your body. The suction from the cups can penetrate deep into your tissues causing the tissues to release harmful toxins. The cupping draws fresh blood and lymph into the tissue to accelerate the healing response. It triggers the lymphatic system, clears the blood vessels, and stretches and activates the skin.
3. Myo-fascial, trigger point, musculotendon, Musculoskeletal cupping, is used when there is injury, either chronic or traumatic, the fascia is also affected, not just the muscles, ligaments and tendons. If the network of fascial planes is disrupted due to scar tissue adhesions (sometimes referred to as knots), restrictions in function and mobility will result. Decreasing mechanical connective tissue changes following inflammation or trauma,
Decrease trigger Points (presence of hypersensitive, tender tissue within themuscle belly)
Decrease myofascial dysfunction, scar adhesions, scar tissue
Decrease myofascial syndromes; i.e. faulty patterning due to hypertonic muscles.
***** NOTE: As there are several cautions and contraindications with any treatments modalities and a necessity of a thorough and correct diagnosis of each individual patient is required.
No other practitioner who utilizes this treatment modality has the expertise needed to maintain long term success in health and well being. Only highly trained and knowledgeable practitioners such as an Acupuncturist & Chinese Medicine Practitioners/Doctors should be performing such treatments.