What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is considered an alternative therapy and has been practised since the early 19th century in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. In recent years it’s been popularised in the West by professional sports, such as athletics, MMA and CrossFit. Athletes are often seen adorning purple circles on their skin.

Used to lift tissues through suction, cupping decompress the underlying region. This allows muscles and connective tissues to glide over each over more freely. This can help restore proper movement when tissues adhere to each other.

Cupping has a significant advantage over most other techniques. It can target multiple points simultaneously while being integrated into active movements and exercise. This is particularly helpful with complex structures such as the shoulder.

Below is an example of cupping from MN Spine and Sport in Minnesota, United States. The video shows cupping being used with active movements of the shoulder.

Cupping therapy is offered as part of both osteopathic and massage-only treatments. It’s a powerful tool within a patient’s treatment plan. However, used in isolated the technique is less effective.

Below is a video from Hawk Grips, therapy tools and equipment suppliers. The video illustrates how cupping and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM) can be integrated.

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