Cupping is one component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and it’s the practice of using suction to alter the flow of energy through your body. At Family Acupuncture & Wellness, we often combine it with other modalities to help you reach an optimal level of health. Adam Learner, MAOM, LAc, and our staff may recommend cupping to address specific musculoskeletal issues, or as part of an overall strategy to maintain your health.
Cupping involves creating suction on specific parts of your body, most often your back, abdomen, or legs, though it can be done in other areas, too. The suction increases the blood flow to the area.
The increased blood flow can improve healing, relieve muscle tension, and reduce pain. There are different types of cups and various methods for performing cupping, and the one we recommend depends on your situation and the condition we are treating.
Cupping looks unusual, but it’s not generally considered painful. You may experience mild discomfort, or it may feel more like a massage. The cups are left on your skin for different amounts of time, depending on the type of cupping we’re doing.
Afterward, you can expect to have the circle marks for about seven days, but you should also expect to feel better!
In TCM, cupping has been used for many conditions, from pulled muscles to acne. We most often recommend it for musculoskeletal disorders. For example, if you have low back pain, which can be difficult to effectively treat, cupping may help.
Another condition where we find cupping to be effective often is chronic neck pain and shoulder pain. Conditions that are difficult to treat because you need to use the muscles and tissues involved may respond well to cupping.
Cupping may help with headaches, as well, especially tension headaches, since the improved circulation can help relax the muscles that can cause the headaches.
Skin problems, like acne and hives, may also respond to cupping. High blood pressure, fibromyalgia, and gastrointestinal issues have been successfully treated using cupping.
Finally, one of the most well-known uses of cupping is helping athletes recover. Many Olympic athletes have competed with cupping marks visible on their skin. The increased blood flow may help muscles recover from intense training.
If you’d like to learn more about cupping and whether or not it might be an effective therapy for you, schedule an appointment at Family Acupuncture and Wellness. We’re happy to evaluate your situation, discuss your medical history and goals with you, and design a treatment plan to address your underlying conditions and help you reach an optimal level of functioning.