Cupping Therapy: A New Olympic Event?

michael-phelps-cupping Rio 2016Is there a new Olympic event called cupping? Well, yes and no. Michael Phelps, the most decorated American Olympian in history, knows the answer. He has surely benefited from Cupping Therapy which was evident by circular red spots on his shoulder and witnessed by millions of spectators who enjoyed the recent swimming events held in Rio. Phelps and his healthcare team shined a spotlight on a centuries-old medical modality not previously known to most people. 

We are pleased with the heightened awareness of cupping overall, but especially the surge of questions and an increase in cupping appointments at Amelia Massage Associates since the Olympics aired. Phelps and his teammates brought “medically beneficial” attention to cupping therapy rather than the “celebrity fad” atmosphere that we often see on reality TV shows. Along with our personal acupuncturist and great teacher of Eastern medicine modalities, Dr. Huimin Wang, we thank Phelps and the U.S. swim team medical professionals for bringing cupping to the forefront. 

ancient-cupping-2Where did the ancient practice of Cupping begin?

Medical historians and scholars think that the Chinese are responsible for the first cupping procedures. According to a recent article by Morgan Massage, the earliest recorded use is attributed to the famous alchemist (medieval chemical science) and herbalist, Ge Hong (281-341 A.D.). “Acupuncture and cupping, more than half of the ills cured,” was an expression during medieval times. ancient-cupping-1

But what is cupping therapy, exactly? And who performs it? According to the ICTA (International Cupping Therapy Association), negative pressure (suction) is used to rapidly facilitate rigid soft tissue release, loosen and lift connective tissue, and drain stagnation while increasing blood and lymph to the skin and muscles in a manner not possible through the use of compression techniques. In its original form cupping involved the use of hollowed out animal horns that were used to suck out and drain the toxins from snakebites and skin lesions. The horn slowly evolved into bamboo cups which were eventually replaced with glass. Today cups are available in glass (stationary or moving cups), plastic, and a newer, more flexible version is made of silicone. The various types have advantages and disadvantages for the practitioner, and glass is recommended for certain ailments over plastic, but they all work equally well and are beneficial for the patient. Chiropractors, holistic physicians, acupuncturists, physical therapists and massage therapists are among the medical practitioners that provide cupping therapy. We recommend certified cupping therapy training or instruction from a practicing physician. 

What are the red circles that appear as bruises? They are not bruises at all; they are evidence of the build-up of toxin, other waste products, and ultimately, the chronic stagnation present within the troubled underlying tissues. The redness shows that the cupping has worked. And unless the cups were to be positioned with extreme force, there are no negative side effects. However, there are CONTRAINDICATIONS: severe diseases such as cardiac or renal failure; ascites due to hepato-cirrhosis; severe edema; hemorrhagic disease such as allergic purpura; hemophilia; leukemia; or clients with dermatosis; destruction of skin; allergic dermatitis, fever; dehydration, and sometimes, muscle soreness, to name a few. For those taking blood thinners and for diabetics, lighter suction is used. 

Simply put, cupping creates an path for the stretching and opening of the tissues in the body. A lifting affect occurs and space is made for fluid to drain toxins and waste from the cells, and that waste is then expelled from the body. 

There are many benefits of cupping but we’ll name just a few so that you will have a basic idea. 

Musculoskeletal pain, tightness, numbness

Arthritis                                                                    High Blood pressure

Sciatica                                                                     Post-surgery adhesions

Rheumatism                                                            Post-injury trauma

Headaches                                                                Vertigo

Bronchial Asthma & Congestion                          Cellulite

Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome      Stretch marks

Michael Phelps and his healthcare team shined a spotlight on a new Olympic event-Cupping Therapy-a centuries-old medical modality not previously known to most people. Now that you know, give us a call.

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Amelia Massage Associates MM11381


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