Michael Phelps turned a lot of heads when he made his big return to the Olympic stage, and not just because of his incredible swimming skills. He stepped up to the pool and removed his coat, only to reveal strange red circles all over his back and shoulders. So what was that all about?

Traditional Chinese Medicine actually uses a treatment called cupping therapy, which creates those circular marks. Phelps wasn’t the only one who showed up to the Olympics with cupping marks. Swimmers from other countries as well as members of the U.S. men’s gymnastics team were sporting the same bruises. The cupping therapy trend appears to be spreading like wildfire, so what’s all the hype about?

Cupping Therapy- More than just a Fad

What is Cupping Therapy?

It is one of the oldest treatment modalities. Not only in Asia, but also India and the middle east. Traditionally been used to treat illness and disease, remove toxins from the body, and pain relief. The bruising you may notice is not a bruise like someone damaging but more of dead blood coming to the surface, the more you cup that area the lighter and healthier it becomes. If there is just redness, its also creating blood flow in the area to facilitate healing. Dr. Baker is all about healing you with the fastest and healthiest route possible. Cupping therapy has the ability to release tissue at a faster rate than by hand with soft tissue therapy, especially on those extremely tough muscles or concerning areas.

Why use Cupping Therapy?

In my office, it is most commonly used to treat:

  • Tight muscles
  • Tension headaches
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Arthritic joints
  • Respiratory disorders (asthma and pneumonia.)

In addition, it is used to help breakdown scar tissue from injury. Cupping therapy is used to speed recovery during training by improving blood flow, reducing muscle tension, and increasing lymphatic flow. Bruising is common, but not everyone bruises. If bruising does occur, it resolves within 5-7 days. It can be used therapeutically to treat specific conditions or used more to reduce stress and tension held within the body. Most common area is neck and shoulder condition due to prolonged computer and desk work or poor posture.

Fire Cupping Therapy

I prefer fire cupping, but pneumatic cupping involving a hand pump to create suction is another option. The glass cups for fire cupping tend to hold better tension, and don’t slip as much as the plastic suction cups. Cupping can be used with or without acupuncture depending on patient needs.

Fire Cupping reaches deeper layers if someone is holding onto tension and it melts it away. People who experience asthma after cupping; can actually take a deep breathe. It’s very invigorating as quoted by some patients.

Are you ready to wake your body up and feel invigorated? At the same time producing a profound level of healing through your nervous system? Give us a call. (402) 932-8108

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