What is all the hype with cupping?

Written by Osteopath, Dr. Aleasha Ball

Cupping was all the rave in the latest Olympics. So what is cupping and why are so many athletes using cupping? Our Osteopath, Aleasha Ball wanted to give you the in's and out's of cupping.

What is cupping?

Cupping can be a useful technique we use to treat muscle pain, soreness and tightness. The traditional technique is to use fire to create a vacuum in the cup, however we use the now more common form of a vacuum cup where a pump gun is used to create suction. The suction will stretch your muscles and surrounding connective tissue, otherwise known as fascia. This will effectively raise your skin as it draws blood and toxins to the surface of your skin.

What to expect? Does it hurt?

Vacuum cupping is applied directly to your skin and can be pumped to different strengths depending on your individual needs. Once the cups are first applied to the chosen area you will feel a pulling sensation, which may be uncomfortable but not painful. After a few minutes, you may feel a small tingling sensation where the cups are placed as there is an increase of circulation and blood flow to the surface of the skin.

What are the marks it leaves?

While not normally painful, many people will describe the marks as a bruise. These will usually disappear between 3-10 days. Often, people forget the marks are there until pointed out to them.

What do we as practitioners at Inspire Health treat with cupping?

Our aim is to release muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and other structures. By applying the cups we will help increase nutrient-rich blood supply to the area to decrease tissue congestion. The cups will also stretch the skin through suction and likely improve your general range of motion, decrease tension, and relieve you of any muscle aches and pains.

Cupping can be used for a wide range of complaints/injuries including:

Neck and back pain Shoulder pain Carpal tunnel Tennis elbow Joint sprains Some tendinopathies Muscular strains General stiffness, aches and pains

Types of cupping: Static Static cups are when we apply cups directly to the site of pain or dysfunction and leave them for a few minutes.

Gliding Glide cupping involves the movement of the cup along your skin. We incorporate the application of cream or oil to allow this glide smoothly.

Functional Functional cupping involves a cup placed where your restriction is felt. While in place, movement is incorporated to allow your tissue to soften, which will increase your range of movement.

Have you ever had cupping done in your treatment? Speak to your practitioner in your next treatment and add a little cupping into your life!