What and who is it for?
Cupping therapy is used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners as well as practitioners in the West. Patients of all ages can be treated, but it’s rare that a young child or below would be treated with this procedure. Patients struggling with muscular tightness, stiffness, joint pain, neck or lower back pain, knee or shoulder pain, or even numbness/tingling into the extremities can benefit from cupping.
There is evidence that suggests the use of cups for musculoskeletal injuries helps speed the healing process by increasing elasticity and mobility of soft tissues, decreasing edema, and improving microcirculation/blood flow. Patients in this office usually respond well to this type of therapy. Most commonly, I use it for upper back and lower back stiffness as well as most patients suffering with shoulder pain. The therapy itself involves placing a plastic cup in an area of dense tissue and then creating a vacuum in the cup that pulls the skin upward and decompresses the tissue below. Once they cups are in place, some patients will stay still, while others will get up and continuously move around. Patients usually describe treatment by saying something like “that feels really good” or “it hurts so good.” After treatment, which lasts anywhere between a few minutes to 10 minutes, the cups are removed and dark circles usually remain on the skin. These circles may end up as pretty green and yellow bruises in some instances and can remain on the skin for a few minutes up to a week. It’s important to tell the doctor if taking any sort of blood thinning medications or blood pressure issues before treatment as to avoid prolonged discoloration.