The long-anticipated Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics have come to a close. While we watched hundreds of athletes from around the world perform and duel it out for Olympic gold, many of us probably noticed some strange, bruise-like dark circles on many of the athletes’ bodies.

These patches are nothing new in the Olympic world, and they come as a result of an ancient Middle Eastern and Asian therapy method known as cupping.

What is cupping, and why do so many athletes use this form of alternative medicine? What are the benefits of cupping? Does cupping make a good addition to massage therapy? In this article, Hand In Health will answer all of your questions and explore everything you need to know about cupping to help you decide whether it’s a viable treatment option for your wellness plan.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment at our locations in Downtown Syracuse or North Syracuse, you can book online today. Otherwise, let’s explore cupping and all the wonderful benefits it has in store for you!

What is Cupping?

With roots in ancient China and the Middle East, cupping is a form of alternative medicine that has been around for thousands of years. This therapy involves applying specialized cups on the skin, which create suction and encourage blood vessels to expand, enhancing blood flow and circulation in the process.

Traditionally made from bamboo and ceramic, most cups used today are silicone-based or rounded glass. Dry cupping is the most common method, and it involves heating the inside of the cup, which sends oxygen flowing out of the cup. Once applied to the skin, this oxygen flow creates a vacuum that causes the skin to pull up and “suction”.

What Can You Expect During & After a Cupping Session?

Here at Hand In Health, many clients will often ask our massage therapists and acupuncturists what they can expect during a cupping session.

Does cupping hurt? Cupping is relatively painless, but it does create an intense, suction-like sensation on the skin. A typical cupping session lasts anywhere from five to 20 minutes, depending on the individual and the extent of their condition.

How many cups are used during a session? Some clients may only require one cup in a concentrated area, but it’s not uncommon for practitioners to apply up to five cups or more all over the back. It varies from person to person and the size of the area that needs treatment.

After suctioning the skin for a few minutes, the cups are removed, leaving circular, dark-red or purple bruises, which will fade after several days.

What Are the Benefits of Cupping?

Because cupping therapy increases blood supply to a particular area, athletes will often use it to heal deep scar tissue, relieve pain and soreness, and reduce inflammation. But those aren’t the only applications.

What is cupping used for? In addition to healing sore muscles, here are some other conditions cupping can address:

  • Headaches & migraines
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Acne & other skin problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Studies have also suggested that cupping can relieve those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders or rheumatic diseases like arthritis and fibromyalgia. Additionally, cupping can reduce swelling and increase circulation throughout the lymphatic system.

Cupping & Massage Therapy

Whether you’re undergoing a medical or therapeutic massage, cupping makes an excellent add-on to help you achieve better and longer-lasting results.

Either during or after completing your massage, your massage therapist will apply the cups to areas where you may be experiencing soreness, pain, or inflammation. Your massage therapist will consult one-on-one with you to understand your health care concerns and any other conditions that we may be able to address with cupping therapy.

If you’re combining massage therapy and fitness, cupping can also be a worthwhile addition to your wellness program! You may be using massage therapy to help your muscles heal and recover after rigorous fitness training. We can apply cupping therapy on days where you’re experiencing significant pain and soreness and need an enhancement to your post-workout massage.

Plus, if you’re a member of Hand In Health, you can save $5 on your cupping add-on! Click here to learn more about our monthly membership and specials, especially if you’re looking to design a unique and all-encompassing wellness program.

Experience the Benefits of Cupping for Yourself

It will be another three years until the next Olympics ‒ but cupping certainly isn’t going anywhere. If you’re interested in cupping therapy, we’ve got you covered here at Hand In Health.

With locations in Downtown Syracuse and North Syracuse, NY, Hand In Health is committed to promoting the overall wellness of clients throughout Onondaga County and Central New York. In addition to massage therapy and fitness training, we offer cupping and a variety of other bodywork and wellness services. If you’re interested in experiencing the benefits of cupping and massage therapy, you can book an appointment online today!