I first saw the results of cupping therapy in the 2016 Olympics when Michael Phelps was about to dive into the water and there were some noticeable bruises on his shoulder. I thought maybe he had just bumped into something or possibly gotten in a fight, but these bruises were different; they were perfect circles. What were these marks? How did they get there? More importantly, why would someone do this to their own bodies?
Turns out that Michael Phelps was using something called Cupping Therapy as a way to increase circulation to his arms & relieve muscle tension. This practice has been around longer than I have lived on this earth and I wanted to learn more about it. Luckily, we have a Certified Cupping Therapist right here in our valley. Her name is Katie Jean Ewing and she agreed to chat with me about the topic. Here’s what we learned:
What Is Cupping Therapy?
This ancient therapy is gaining in popularity quickly. This modality uses negative pressure, rather than compression used in traditional massage. This negative pressure releases rigid soft tissue, drains excess fluids and toxins, loosens adhesions, lifts connective tissue, and brings blood flow to stagnant skin and muscles. There are several methods of Cupping Therapy such as Massage Cupping, Stationary Cupping, BioMagnetic Cupping, Dynamic Cupping, and Wet Cupping to list a few. Cupping Therapy engages the parasympathetic nervous system, encouraging deep relaxation and often leaving the client feeling warm, “light” and relaxed.
Cupping Therapy is the oldest practiced medical treatment in human history. Stone carvings confirm that Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Mayans, Celts and many other cultures used some method of Cupping. Use of Cupping dates back as far as 1,550B.C. in Egyptian medical books.
Positive Benefits For The Following Conditions
- Muscle Tension & Joint Stiffness
- Chronic Pain
- Asthma & Pneumonia
- High Blood Pressure & Diabetes
- Sports Injury
- Chronic Headaches
- Fibromyalgia & Rheumatism
- Common Cold
- Poor Circulation
- Digestive & Respiratory Diseases
- Cellulite: treatment in the glutes/thigh/hip/leg area can reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Face: Reduce lines and wrinkles, soften scar tissue, & reduce edema and chronic puffiness. Increase local circulation and nutrients delivered to the epidermis, enhance absorption of topical products.
- Scar tissue: Soften and realign scar tissue to reduce the appearance. Reduce the underlying restrictions caused by the scar tissue and increase local circulation and nutrient delivery.
- Broken bones
- Slipped discs
- Organ failure/Cancer
- Sunburn/ruptured skin
- Recent surgical incision
Discolorations may occur after treatment on some clients, these are not bruises and are not tender to the touch. Discolorations may take a few hours or up to 2 weeks to dissipate.
When injuries occur in the muscle, bleeding and edema occur, involving the coagulation of sticky proteins. The presence of these elements usually results in stagnation of circulation to the area – resulting in pain, dysfunction, and chronic conditions.
Cupping draws up the old non-circulating stagnant blood and sticky fluids from the area, bringing them up to the surface so that healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area, thus creating space for oxygen, living cells and nutrients, allowing for faster recovery.
- Increases circulation
- Increases skin temperature
- Increases tissue metabolism
- Improves nutrition supply
- Improves functioning of sweat and sebaceous glands
- Strengthens the renewing power of skin
- Decreases congestion in joints & other musculoskeletal structures
- Facilitates excretion of lactic acids & other toxins
- “cleans the blood”, allowing for better ability to fight disease
- Normalizes heart rate & systolic pressure
- Improved lymphatic drainage
- Stimulates secretion of digestive fluids which elevates the absorption of nutrients
- Improves ROM
- Decreases chronic pain/joint stiffness
- Increases secretion of synovial fluids
About Katie Jean Ewing
Katie Jean was born and raised in Gypsum, CO. After earning her BS in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from the University of Wyoming she attended Massage Therapy school. She has been practicing in the Vail Valley for 5 years. Recently she has continued her education, becoming a Certified Cupping Therapist. She is excited to begin offering Swedish, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Prenatal, and Cupping treatments at Evolve Spa + Boutique.
Thanks For Reading.