Although the recent olympics have brought up a lot of recent interest (Ive had 4 patients in the last week alone asking about cupping because of Michael Phelps!) it's a treatment that's been around for centuries.
Recently it is used in several cultures to heal a variety of ailments, here in Australia it is probably most closely associated with chinese medicine where it is proposed to remove the bad blood and toxins from your system.
The modern explanation for how cupping works is through three mechanisms.
1. By lifting and stretching fascia it created better movement of the soft tissue structures
2. By lifting and separating the various layers it can cause micro-trauma which triggers the bodies inflammatory response. This response is the beginning of the bodys healing process.
3. Through the vacuum effect, new blood is pulled into the area and old stagnant blood is removed.
So what is a cupping treatment like?
Well in a typical session a series of cups are placed on the skin and is sealed off to create a vacuum inside. This can be done through a few different methods, the traditional way used a small flame under a cup while recently a plastic pump can be used to create the same effect.
Does it work?
Well for certain muscular skeletal conditions there is evidence that it can help. However the evidence for some of the other proposed conditions remains unclear.
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