Cupping has been used for centuries by all different cultures. Before I learnt cupping through my degree I was introduced to cupping by my sisters Greek Mother-In-Law. She used it on her family for chest infections and coughs.
However cupping is also used on pain, arthritis, skin health - acne/cellulite and it improves digestion.
Cupping is used to pull blood to an area of the body to stimulate healing. As it does this it stretches tight fascia and muscles. It helps the tissue develop new blood flow and causes anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body to be released.
As we age our bodies start to show signs of ‘wear and tear’ this could be loss of muscle tone, joints become stiffer, blood flow to muscles decreases - usually from lack of exercise, this creates knotted fascia which limits movement. It will pull blood into an area which saturates it with fresh blood containing nutrients and oxygen while it removes older stagnant blood.
There are a few methods of cupping, the most common is dry cupping, this is where multiple cups are placed on dry skin, moving cupping is the use of only one cup that is placed on oiled skin and moved over the tissues. Wet cupping is the use of micro-bleeding before the cup is placed over the muscles.
Overall cupping aids in;
Increasing oxygenation and tissue delivery
Removes stagnant blood
Increases beneficial inflammation to speed recovery
Create new blood vessels
Stretch fascia and connective tissue.
Although cupping leaves a round bruise like mark on the skin - this is not sensitive like a bruise would normally be. Typically the marks fade within 3 days - and are often a good conversation starter - just ask Michael Phelps who was sporting some of these marks on his shoulder during his last Olympic campaign.