You probably heard of last year’s all-time winning Olympian, Michael Phelps. He won a gold medal for a 4×100-meter freestyle relay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was spotted with dark red circles on his back and shoulder, and this caused a huge controversy. Some people thought he looked like a Dalmatian, and others are wondering whether the red circles are tattoo symbols or something else.
But what really is Cupping Therapy?
And do athletes, especially Olympians, use this healing method for sports injuries?
Yes, they do. Cupping Therapy is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been around for thousands of years now. It is a simple method of applying a silicon or glass cup onto specific body points. A vacuum is created to suction the skin and bodily toxins, leaving you totally relaxed and detoxified.
Examples of are baseball, basketball, football, hockey, karate, running, soccer and water skiing. If you are involved in the intense activities mentioned, then you are prone back, foot, hip and knee trauma.
As an athlete, here are some benefits you can get from the natural and therapeutic benefits of cupping.
Increases Blood Circulation
Cupping may restore your normal blood circulation. This improves the oxygen supply to reduce inflammation and other toxic substances of the body. The method also dilates the blood vessels, therefore creating a deep relaxation effect.
Athletes take advantage of cupping through the application of heat or suction type cup that generates a vacuum to mobilize blood flow and promote effective healing from sports injuries.
Relief from Pain
Too much physical activity can result in joint trauma and to your cartilage and tissues. The damage is dependent on how frequent and intense your activities are. You may experience low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, including hip, foot and knee distress.
Studies show that cupping provides pain relief with little negative side effects. Through its easy administration, better patient outcomes are displayed.
Reduce Muscle-Joint Inflammation & Boost Your Immune System
Playing basketball, baseball or football places you at high-risk for musculoskeletal conditions. When the cups are placed on specific areas of injury, the skin is lifted and fresh blood rushes to bring oxygen and nutrients. This can heal the inflammation and potentially remove toxins that cause the swelling.
Another procedure is called ‘wet cupping’ that is used for low back, and joint fatigue. It is known to expel some toxins and boosts the immune system. Wet cupping is considered quite complex because it requires a sterile environment and is only performed by qualified practitioners.
The effects of cupping are remarkable in relieving muscle aches. It may also release joint stiffness in a manner that can’t be possible with just a traditional massage.
Cupping therapy has various medical benefits that been wildly discussed by clinicians as a traditional method of Chinese medicine. It is believed to correct imbalances in the internal system. Over the years, it has gained extensive popularity and acceptance in the treatment of sports injuries.
Musemeci, G. (2016). Could cupping therapy be used to improve sports performance? Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology. 1, 373–377; doi:10.3390/jfmk1040373
Dalton, E., Velasquez, B. (2017). Cupping therapy: An alternative method of treating pain. Public Health Open J. 2(2): 59-63. doi: 10.17140/PHOJ-2-122
Sifferlin, A. (2016) What is cupping? Here’s what you need to know. Time Magazine Health.
Rains, B. (2016) What is cupping? Controversial therapy grabs headlines in Rio. Sports Illustrated