Quick Hits: Where (and Why) to Try Cupping

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If you’ve heard of the term “cupping,” it was probably during last year’s Olympics when the announcers explained Michael Phelps kept appearing on the pool deck covered in alarming red polka-dots.

But the benefits of the practice–which involves applying suction to small areas of the body in order to improve circulation–aren’t limited to world-class athletes. George the Salon, a Gold Coast spa known for its focus on Eastern medicine, offers the treatment and says many of its clients swear by it to treat a variety of different health and wellness issues. Here, the spa’s cupping expert, Dr. Sunil Pullukat, explains a few of the biggest reasons to give it a try.

1.  It’s a great Introduction to Chinese Medicine

For those hesitant to jump right into other Chinese medicine practices, such as acupuncture, cupping is the perfect treatment to get their feet wet. Where as the needles used in acupuncture can seem intimidating, cupping requires no needles whatsoever. In fact, cupping is about as non-invasive as a treatment can be. The only “tools” used are cups designed specifically for this practice and a source of suction necessary to create a vacuum on a specific area on the skin. 

The sensation varies from person to person. Some people report no pain, but rather a sense of pressure from the suction- others can feel slight discomfort. Bruises resulting from cupping can last for a few days to two weeks, but they are often only mildly tender for the first day or so. The sense of relief that one feels long outlasts any bruises that result from a cupping session. 

2. It offers natural pain relief

By creating suction where the cups are placed, cupping increases circulation and blood flow to the specific area being treated. This increased blood flow brings oxygen, nutrients and other anti-inflammatory molecules to the injured muscle or joint. This increased blood flow promotes healing, reduces stiffness and tension, and provides a feeling of “openness” in that area. Athletes often use cupping to improve healing time and soothe sore muscles, but anyone can benefit from this form of pain relief. 

3. It can help with respiratory issues

Cupping has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for respiratory issues, such as the asthma, bronchitis, and the common cold. The suction of the cups is extremely effective in breaking up phlegm and stimulating the lungs to promote coughing to clear out this phlegm. The increased blood flow produced during a cupping session also improvegeneral immune function, so it can be effective in reducing the length of a cold when caught early on. 

4. It can alleviate muscle tightness 

Cupping is the only treatment modality that uses decompression to loosen up muscles.  Most massages and soft tissue treatment use compressive pressure to loosen tissue.  Because cupping draws in skin, fascia and muscle into the cup, it helps to separate the different layers of tissue allowing more blood flow to get into the tissues. This process allows the muscle to become less stiff and tight.

 5. It can get rid of cellulite 

Cupping can reduce the wrinkles from cellulite.  It does this by breaking up the capillary blood vessels on the surface of the skin.  As the blood vessels break up, they promote healing and new vessels start to form. This makes lymphatic drainage easier reducing fluid retention, which causes the skin to become smoother.

George the Salon312-923-9444