Cupping therapy is another non-invasive form of ancient Chinese medicine. Like acupuncture, cupping helps to restore the balance between yin and yang. It has recently been gaining popularity as a pain management technique after Michael Phelps had purple bruises on his arms during the Olympics.
Cupping strengthens the body’s resistance to and ejects pathogenic factors and promotes blood circulation to promote pain relief. It is said that pain is a result of congestion, stagnation, and blockage of QI or energy force, fluids, and blood. Cupping is a therapy that is used to break this blockage and restore the body’s natural flow of energy. It is used to treat pain, decrease inflammation, improve blood flow and increase relaxation.
Cupping is done by suctioning cups to the skin for a short period of time, creating a vacuum inside the cup; similar to an inverse deep tissue massage. This then draws up the congested blood and energy to the surface causing the skin, muscles, and connective tissue to be put under stress.
The cups can be placed in one position for a few minutes or or moved across the skin to stimulate other areas.
This treatment can cause the skin to change various shades of purple depending on the amount of stagnation and congestion. The darker the color means poor circulation and more toxins present. The lighter the color, the less impairment of circulation and the healthier the tissues. The color will start to change as more treatments are done and the stagnation and congestion are unblocked.
Cupping can be used for pain, muscle spasms, help treat a common cold, detoxify the skin and circulatory system, and even have an affect on the digestive system.