Cupping in the Olympics
Wow, did cupping make a splash at the olympics or what? Hehe...see what I did there? Splash...swimmers...okay, I just got off a long flight with an infant. Give me a break.
Anyway, some of the athletes were covered in red or purple circles, which comes from cupping. They were sharing with the world what those of us in the acupuncture/east asian medicine world have know for years. Like thousands of years.
By using suction to lift tissue, you can increase circulation and break up adhesions. In addition to what these athletes were doing, we have several ways of doing this. For the most part, the pictures I saw of the Olympians' cupping were of stationary cupping - where you create the suction and leave it in one place. For most musculoskeletal treatments, we prefer sliding cups, where we use an oil for lubrication, then slide the suction cups across the muscle. This feels kind of like getting a massage from the inside. Instead of compressing the muscle as in a traditional massage, cupping lifts the muscle, releasing it in a whole different way.
We also use flash cupping, as you can see here, to treat coughs and colds. This percussive cupping helps to open the lungs and expel a cold faster. It is also apparently a great way to entertain the little ones.
So, once again, we can thank our Olympic athletes for bringing attention to "new" modalities that have been practiced for thousands of years.
Want to try cupping yourself? Get yourself a standard or "the works" appointment and feel the magic!