There's been LOTS of talk in the news about Cupping therapy in the past week as Michael Phelps and other Olympians have been sporting the dark purple circles often associated with it. Yes, sometimes it makes you look like you've been attacked by a giant squid (which could be accurate for Michael...) but it isn't always that way, especially if you use moving cupping where the provider glides the cups over the skin instead of letting them sit in one place. No matter what type of cupping a therapist uses, however, the primary results are the same - decreased pain and increased function.
So, if cupping works for Michael Phelps, can it work for you? Is cupping something good for all of us?
3,000 years of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine says yes! Cupping has a long history as a proven method for increasing health a vitality by increasing blood flow, increasing Qi flow and relieving stagnation all of which equal again a reduction in pain.
I've written articles about the what and why of cupping in the past, so rather than repeat those details in this post, I'd like to write a brief FAQ. Been getting a lot of questions lately!
Cupping FAQ in Portland and SW Washington
Does Cupping Hurt?
No. Cupping generally does not hurt. It can feel tight and you certainly feel a pulling sensation from the suction in the cups, but it typically is not painful. If it is painful, you should tell your provider immediately and they will reduce the suction to ensure your comfort.
How Long Do Cupping Marks Last?
How long the marks last depends on your body's ability to flush out the inflammation and toxins that have risen to the surface. Typically at All Ways Well, we see that the first time you get cupped the marks tend to last the longest - sometimes as long as 14 days, though somewhere between 5-9 is most common. The more often you cup, the less color you see and the quicker color tends to resolve. If you cup frequently and have an episode of dark color, it typically fades in 3 days.
What is Cupping good for?
Cupping is good for multitude of things and a comprehensive list can be found HERE. Most often, cupping is used to treat injury and pain in the back, neck and shoulders. Cupping can be used on any muscular part of the body, however, and like Gua Sha, can even be used on the face for wrinkle reduction!
Is Cupping Safe?
Cupping is a safe therapy and it can be used on people of any age. In fact, cupping is a very common therapy to use to treat children instead of Acupuncture to create healing and change. There are some contraindications for cupping, such as cupping over weeping sores or wounds in and in the case of lymphatic-spread cancer. A full and detailed health history is always a must as well as visual inspection of the area to be treated and a licensed provider should always do both before starting treatment.
Can Acupuncture and Cupping be used together?
YES!!! Acupuncture and Cupping are in fact designed to be used together and one greatly increases the efficacy of the other!
Want to know more? Ready to try it out? Book online anytime - cupping is regularly included in Acupuncture sessions and is always available by request! Until next time, yours in health ~Rebecca
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.