Cupping is a therapy that has skyrocketed in popularity since the 2016 Olympics saw Michael Phelps show up on the world stage sporting dozens of "cup kisses". Since that time, many people come to massage therapy looking or asking for cupping therapy. But what does it do? 

Cupping is a technique that has been around for a very long time. Typically considered a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping has undergone a bit of a makeover in western culture. In the clinic we use cupping to increase blood flow to areas that may get a lot of compressive forces in daily life- areas like where a bra holds us tightly, socks grip our calves or where belts and pants press into us. Cupping is also used as a way to unload painful tissue. Placing cups (either silicone or hard plastic) over areas of discomfort can unload the tissue below them and help reduce localized pain. Cupping is also often used over locations of restriction or scarring, elongating the restriction and allowing for deeper work to address tissue mobility. 

While little research has been done on cupping therapy, it has remained a consistent tool for bodywork therapists for centuries



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