What Is Cupping Therapy? Does It Work?

Jun 22, 2020 | Blog, Physical Therapy Houston Heights

You may have heard of cupping therapy if you stay in the loop with some of the latest trends for celebrities and/or Olympic athletes as it has become a hot topic in recent years and has been used to ease aches, pains, and enhance overall health and well-being. If you have no idea what we are talking about, don’t fret — that is exactly what we are going to cover in today’s post.

Read on to learn more about what cupping therapy is through some frequently asked questions, such as what the benefits of cupping are, how it works, and when to know if you could benefit from cupping therapy. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for yourself with a professional physical therapist in Houston Heights, give us a call at Jennifer Klein Physical Therapy & AATB Pilates today!

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping is a form of physical therapy that originated in China over 2,000 years ago. It is something that has been used in the western hemisphere for decades to encourage healing of the body, as it helps to trigger the body’s own healing mechanisms. Chinese medical practitioners also believe that cupping helps to keep the body in balance, increases overall blood flow, and reduces pain. Think of it as a deep tissue massage with suction and decompression.

How Does Cupping Therapy Work?

There are several different types of cups that can be used for cupping sessions, ranging from silicone to bamboo. Cupping uses one of these cups to pull and suction an area of skin in order to decompress muscles and connective tissues in order to promote blood flow, enhance circulation, and increase the body’s own healing process. Depending on your scenario, one or two cups are used during your cupping session, while other times your entire back will be covered with cups. These are usually left in place for roughly five to ten minutes in order to receive the full benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Cupping?

Cupping is often used for back problems and other general aches and pains in the body, but people have cupping therapy done for many other purposes. Some of these include:

  • Pain management
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Help aid with muscle recovery
  • Promote blood flow and cell repair
  • Prevent muscle spasms
  • General relaxation and well-being, similar to a deep-tissue massage

Many Taoists in China, as well as a recent review of the treatment, describes cupping therapy as a treatment that strengthens the body’s resistance, removes disease-causing factors, promotes blood circulation which comes with a wide range of healing aspects, and restores balance between positive and negative forces.

Is Cupping Painful?

Cupping therapy doesn’t hurt, but it will likely leave temporary suction marks with slight redness.

What Can I Expect at an Initial Cupping Appointment?

At the beginning of a cupping therapy treatment, your physical therapist will place a number of cups (depending on your scenario) on your skin. Depending on where you go for your cupping therapy, your practitioner will create suction for the cups by either heating the inside of the cup or using rumber pumps. After the cup is placed onto the skin, the air instantly cools and creates a vacuum seal so that the muscles are pulled up into the cup. This is what can cause redness to the skin, as the blood vessels are reacting to the change in pressure.

There are also cupping therapy methods where practitioners will slide the cups around on your skin, which is called “glide cupping.” In this case, your practitioner will put oil on your skin to improve movement.

Am I a Good Candidate for Cupping?

Like we said above, anyone can benefit from cupping therapy. While it definitely can help those struggling with pain, it is similar to a deep-tissue massage and the overall health, well-being, and relaxation benefits that come with it. When determining whether or not you are a good candidate for this type of physical therapy, the most important thing to do is ensure you are not taking high doses of blood thinners, don’t have thin or frail skin, don’t have any kind of skin trauma or blood disorder, or have active cancer. If this is the case, you will want to check with your doctor and wait until your health circumstances change.

Where Can I Try Cupping for Myself in Houston Heights?

Jennifer Klein Physical Therapy & AATB Pilates, of course! Our experienced and friendly physical therapist utilizes techniques specific to each client and what their goals are in order to provide them with the best treatment possible. We also offer a wide range of other services, including dry needling, orthopedic physical therapy, manual therapy, private and group Pilates classes, and more. If you are interested in trying out cupping therapy or another form of physical therapy for yourself in Houston Heights, give us a call today!