Person: Whoa! Why does it look like an octopus got ahold of you?? Did your parents beat you??
Me: No, it’s cupping
Person: What the heck is cupping? Does it hurt? Does it REALLY work?
Me: Yes, it’s the best!
Person: (skeptical look on their face)
-FAST FORWARD to 2016-
Josh Bridges and Michael Phelps did it… since they did, it must REALLY work!
A video posted by Josh Bridges (@bridgesj3) on Jun 18, 2016 at 2:40pm PDT
The History of Cup Therapy
Cupping Therapy, commonly referred to as Cupping, has been around for thousands of years. It developed over time from the original use of hollowed out animal horns to treat boils and suck out the toxins out of snakebites and skin lesions. Horns slowly evolved into bamboo cups, which were eventually replaced by glass. The true origin of cupping still remains uncertain to this day. Some consider the Chinese to be responsible for cupping, however, the earliest pictorial records date back to the ancient Egyptians around 1500 B.C.
My History of Cupping
Cupping is ancient medicine that has been passed on for generations. Growing up in a Chinese background, my mom would do this to me when I got sick or when I was sore from working out. It wasn’t a new thing to me it was just something I considered normal. The cupping my mom would do to me was with the glass cup, swirled around with fire on the inside with a chopstick and cotton wrapped at the end then placed on your back depending where you were feeling sick or sore. The more purple/red it was showed the “level” of toxins that were in your body after this was done I would instantly feel better almost light.
The Benefits of Cupping
“Cupping is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.”
“The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, and rheumatism.”
“It is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials. Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be ‘cupped,’ thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points.This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person’s asthma.”
Basically, Josh Bridges, Michael Phelps and I are telling you it is beneficial if you do want to try it when you are sick or sore. This isn’t something you have to do regularly just when it’s necessary meaning you wouldn’t take medicine when it’s not needed. I know as Crossfitters, we are on this constant level of being sore but you know your body best! I would say after competition or if you say,” I need a massage” try cupping. You definitely won’t find the chopstick version being done at Doctor’s office who practices this but now they have sterilized tools holding the cotton ball and new modern glass cups that get the air sucked out of them to perform the same function but in my opinion I think the fire is what helps the most.
Here’s a good video of people trying it for the first time!
March is the founder and owner of The Barbell Beauties which she started in 2015. She is from the Philippines and currently lives in beautiful Thailand with her American husband and daughter. She is an avid Crossfitter and has just started her journey into Muay Thai (kickboxing).