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Cupping: What's the hype about?

Updated: Jun 20, 2023





Hype Of Health: Cupping Treatments Reviewed by Geaux Chiro

The Ancient Practice with Modern Benefits


Have you ever encountered those dark, intriguing round discolored spots on someone’s body? Perhaps you’ve experienced them firsthand or seen Michael Phelps swimming in the Olympics. These unmistakable marks are like badges of honor, proudly displayed by individuals who have undergone the ancient practice of cupping.


So what the heck is this? So what exactly is this intriguing practice? Cupping originates in ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures and dates back thousands of years. Today, it has become a prominent topic in modern holistic medicine, recognized as a

well-established technique within the realm of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).


Its purpose?


To loosen tight muscles, alleviate pain, and bring about a sense of deep relaxation. The practice has stood the test of time, adapting to the present day as an integral part of holistic healing approaches.


This article explores cupping and the many known and not necessarily proven benefits. We’ll dig into the reasons behind these honorable marks and gain perspective from an adjacent holistic health field.


What is cupping Therapy?

Cupping, in the simplest definition, is applying suction to the skin. The cupping uses negative pressure to decompress the area by lifting the skin and the layer of tissue below the skin, called the fascia, up into the cup.


Where is the suction cup applied?

The individual cups can be placed anywhere on the back, chest, abdomen, buttocks, and legs. If you’re up on skincare, you know that cupping is a holistic skincare treatment used to promote circulation and stimulate skin cells.


The suction cup can be placed on an area of pain and an entire muscle group or a general area of concern, such as the back. Inside the cup is where the magic happens, as each vacuum is said to increase blood flow and energy to the affected area. The suction loosens and lifts connective tissue, breaks up, and drains stagnation while increasing blood and lymph flow to the skin and muscles.


What happens in the suction cup?

The increased circulation where the cup was placed promotes localized healing and, for some, pain relief which explains why you see high-impact professional athletes using cupping treatments.


What Is Cupping Treatment Used For?

Depending on where you look and who you ask, cupping supports and treats many health issues around the bodywork, including pain, strains, inflammation, toxicity, chronic fatigue, and even digestive problems.


The most substantial evidence for the benefit of cupping is pain reduction, including musculoskeletal pain, migraine, and tension headaches.

Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, cupping therapy functions by unblocking the body’s energy channels, known as meridians, thereby enhancing energy flow to all tissues and organs. Cupping is also said to release toxins from the tissues and activate the lymphatic system, which is believed to alleviate discomfort and reduce pain throughout the body.


Dry cupping has shown benefits to patients suffering from chronic back pain in both behavioral variables of pain and physiology. Other possible, less obvious benefits from cupping include promoting the skin’s blood flow, increasing pain thresholds, reducing inflammation, and boosting cellular immunity.



Cupping vs. Dry Needling

Cupping Therapy and dry needling are two distinct therapeutic techniques that offer unique benefits and are utilized by different groups of individuals.

Cupping Therapy involves using suction cups placed on the skin to promote blood flow, relieve muscle tension, and encourage healing. It is commonly used by athletes, individuals seeking pain relief, and those interested in holistic health practices.

On the flip side, let’s talk about dry needling. This technique involves inserting thin needles into muscle trigger points, which helps speed up the muscle reset and enhances function and movement. You’ll often find it used by physical therapists, chiropractors, and healthcare professionals specializing in musculoskeletal conditions.


Both cupping and dry needling can be effective in their own ways. The choice between them comes down to what you prefer, your specific needs, and the guidance of a qualified practitioner. So, it’s all about finding the right fit for you!


Does Dry Needling Actually Work? Find out here.


What to Expect after Cupping

Now, back to these mysterious circles left behind after cupping! Cupping Therapy causes skin bruising from the suction bringing blood to the skin’s surface. How about we call them temporary marks of vitality? The darker the mark indicates the severity of stagnation. This means more toxins, injury, and illness have occupied that area for an extended period.


Other possible concerns for post-cupping would be skin sensitivity around the cupping area and persistent skin discoloration.


As with any new treatment, always consult with your medical practitioner, as there may be some restrictions, such as anyone on blood thinners or diagnosed with blood disorders like anemia and hemophilia.


Is it all HYPE of the next Healthy thing you should try?

Like any chiropractic treatment, there are always skeptics and debates surrounding different practices. While we don’t currently provide this service, we couldn’t help but share our curiosity and excitement about the potential to extend healing benefits to reach more people suffering from pain and chronic health concerns.


Interested in other Geaux Chiro services? See our full list of conditions we treat here.


Referenced Articles: See referenced articles


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