Why are Olympic athletes using Cupping?

Cupping is an ancient form of therapy believed to have started in ancient Egypt centuries ago to then spread throughout Asia and South America.  Currently it consists on the application of glass or plastic cups where vacuum is created to the skin to draw the tissue up by suction. Cupping is painless; in most cases it will leave a mark similar to a bruise that disappears in a few days.

Cupping is used to treat a variety of conditions; it relieves pain, removes toxins, draws inflammation to the surface of the body to speed healing, stimulates the immune system and relieves stress by relaxing the muscles.

Studies have shown that cupping moves stagnant blood allowing fresh blood to move in stimulating the creation of new blood vessels that rejuvenate the area being treated.

As the body ages muscle tone decreases; this, paired with lack of activity, limits blood flow causing adhesions and scaring of the fascia resulting in stiffness and limited range of motion. Allowing fresh blood to move in brings oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. The formation of new blood vessels gives this therapy lasting effect.

By stretching the fascia cupping improves range of motion, this is one of the reasons it has become very popular with athletes; it also reduces scar formation after injuries and improves performance.

Cupping also creates micro traumas that result in a form of beneficial sterile inflammation.  The body responds to this by releasing white blood cells, fibroblast, platelets and other substances that promote healing.

Cupping also has a detoxifying effect, through the activation of the lymphatic system.

In combination with acupuncture it can successfully treat low back pain, neck pain, migraines, herpetic neuralgia, flu and colds, asthma, and fatigue. Some consider cupping more effective than massage in relaxing muscles.

References

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
Dr Axe. www.draxe.com
“Cupping” – www.denveracupunctureandchiro.com