Millions of viewers have noticed the odd purplish circles on the back and shoulders of Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympic athlete of all time, as he goes for more swimming gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. TV announcers have described cupping as an old Chinese medicine healing technique that uses glass or bamboo cups to create strong suction on the skin of the patient. This produces a strong lifting and pulling action on the muscles and soft tissue. The cups stay on for several minutes and when they are removed the cups leave a purplish bruise that may remain for several days. Very visible and intriguing on the muscular bare bodies of these great athletes.
Cupping works on soft-tissue injuries to the muscles and joints that are often caused by over working the muscles during heavy training. Cupping in Chinese is translated as ba guan, because it is administered by using an open flame inside a glass, plastic or bamboo cup to create a vacuum. The cup is quickly applied to the sore or stressed area and the strong suction pulls the skin away from the underlying muscle tissue. This suction ruptures the fine capillaries as blood is pulled into the upper skin level, causing the purplish round welts we see on Michael Phelps’s back and shoulders. Cupping can also be used with vacuum pumps instead of flames.
Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that pain and fatigue from injuries and excessive exercise lead to conditions called Stagnant Qi or vital energy and Stagnant Blood or fluids in the Acupuncture channels or meridians. Cupping complements acupuncture, massage and Chinese herbal formulas that can help anyone with injuries or soreness.
Many athletes such as Phelps have used cupping to help in recovery from muscle and ligament strain. The suction of cupping brings fresh blood and lymph flowing through fatigued and inflamed soft tissue. This promotes natural self-healing and anti-inflammatory response and the patient feeling less sore, more flexible and able to return to training and activity more quickly. Cupping is very effective for everyone. Here at the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey we treat serious athletes, weekend athletes and non-athletes, using cupping to ease aches and soreness. Cupping is effective for non-muscular disorders too such as respiratory problems, fevers, skin and digestive problems.
If you are interested in learning more about cupping or want to try an introduction, call us:
Schedule your appointment:
40 Franklin. St.
Morristown, NJ 07960