If you have been watching the 2016 Rio Olympics as much as we have, you probably have noticed various athletes sporting large purple circles on their backs and shoulders.
No, these marks are not paintball or bar fight bruises, they are the marks that are left behind after a cupping therapy session.
Cupping is an ancient Egyptian and Chinese healing practice that is believed to help with inflammation, blood flow and relaxation. Additional benefits include: improved flexibility and decreased pain.
This is how it works:
A therapist or professional uses cups to create a vacuum over the specific points of the body that, when treated, can induce healing. A mechanical pump is used to pull air out of the cup which creates the vacuum effect.
‘This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 3 minutes.’
Olympic athletes are not the only people that use cupping, according to various sources, cupping has been a form of therapy since 1,550 B.C. Ebers Papyrus, the oldest medical text book, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy. Back then, and even now, cupping is used by many to protect and heal the body without the use of medications.
Here at Specht Physical Therapy we offer cupping therapy to our patients. We have been offering this service to our patients since 2013 and have seen amazing results! What is most exciting are the dramatic improvements in range of motion that we see when performed on myofascial restrictions in individuals suffering from knee, shoulder and back pain.
“This is a technology that has been around for thousands of years and it’s pretty cool that we are still using it in 2016. Obviously it works!” says Greg Specht, owner and Clinical Director of Specht Physical Therapy in Swansea and Providence.
So, whether you are an Olympic athlete or a 9 to 5 employee, you can benefit from the now trendy, cupping therapy…if you can handle the possibility of sporting a few purple circles on your back.