Did you know that MN Spine and Sport offers cupping in Woodbury? Cupping’s claim to fame came from none other than Michael Phelps during the Rio Olympics. It originated from either Chinese or Arabic medicine and is thought to bring blood and nutrients to the treated area. Traditional cupping involved lighting a fire under a glass cup, removing the flame and then putting the cup on the skin in order to provide a sucking motion. They are left on the skin for a period of time.
Is Cupping New?
The origin of cupping (Hijama in Arabic) is controversial, but its use has been documented by both Arabic and Chinese medical practices. Cupping fell out of favor during the 17th and 18th centuries, but popularity has risen with modern medicine and gained popularity after the Rio Olympics.1
MN Spine and Sport uses a modern form of cupping: no flames and no glass! We use silicone cups. They are a lot more flexible than their glass and plastic counterparts and conform to the patient’s body. During a traditional cupping treatment, cups are placed on the body while the patient lies still. At MN Spine and Sport, we introduce movement while the cups are applied.
How Does it Work?
Physiologically, cupping is thought to draw blood to the affected area, reducing soreness and speeding healing of overworked muscles. Athletes who use it swear by it, saying it keeps them injury free and speeds recovery.
Another modern theory behind cupping is that cupping introduces a decompressive effect on the specific area of tissue causing the underlying fascia to move better. Ultrasound studies have shown patients who, before cupping, have underlying fascia that appears to be “stuck”, causing a restriction of movement. Then, cups were applied and used as “handles” to mobilize underlying tissue. Ultrasound then showed that the underlying layers of fascia were separated and free of restriction. Combined with movement, cupping stretches underlying tissue causing increased movement and less pain.
Are there any side effects?
Case reports of burns from traditional cupping techniques have been reported.2,3,4 Soreness and bruising where the cup was applied have also been reported. Cupping should never be applied over an open wound. Additionally, some patients have reported a pinching sensation, but most patients feel looser, less pain and greater range of motion after treatment!
1.J Integr Med. 2017 May;15(3):172-181
2.Burns Incl Therm Inj. 1988 Aug;14(4):323-5
3.Med J Aust. 2017 Jun 19;206(11):500.
4.J Burn Care Res. 2007 Mar-Apr;28(2):355-8