Is Cupping the New “Fad” Therapy?
Posted October 14, 2016
By Mackenzie Simmons, ATC
If you watched the Olympics this summer, you likely saw many Olympic athletes covered in perfectly circular red spots. These red spots are left by a therapeutic tool, known as cupping. Cupping is an ancient therapy, most prominently used in Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Cupping has recently started to become popular in the United States over the past few years.
The process of cupping involves heating glass suction cups and placing them on the treatment area. The suction cups are usually left on the skin for around 5 minutes before they are removed. As the suction cups cool down, a partial vacuum is formed with the skin. The number of cups that are used is dependent upon the size of the treatment area; the bigger the area, the more cups that are used.
Cupping is believed to relieve pain by stimulating the muscles while increasing blood flow. It has also been shown as a form of deep-tissue massage that helps with the relaxation of sore muscles. Unfortunately, there has not been much research conducted that shows the positive effects of cupping.
Cupping might be the new “fad” therapy for Olympic, professional and collegiate athletes. Over the past 10 years, Kinesiotape, cryotherapy chambers and power bands have all become well-known and are used by professional athletes. With the limited research on cupping, time will tell if this therapy will be around in 4 years for the next Summer Olympics.