Cupping is form of manual therapy—physical manipulation of the body—designed to relieve musculoskeletal pain and tightness and promote faster recovery from training and/or injury. Although cupping is similar to, and often utilized in conjunction with massage, the mechanics through which it works are slightly different than massage: cupping utilizes a negative pressure on muscles, tendons, and fascia, while massage utilizes positive pressure. Cupping is most often performed on the back (upper and/or lower), quads, calves, and hamstrings.
Cupping therapy involves placing glass or plastic cups onto the skin directly over the target area. The cupping therapist then creates a vacuum inside the cup; traditionally, this vacuum was created by burning a cotton wool ball, although today it is more common to utilize a hand-based suction pump. The negative pressure inside the cup pulls the skin, muscle, and fascia up into the cup, creating areas of pressure that stimulate and relax the musculoskeletal structures. The cups can either be left in place for several minutes, or they can be gently and slowly moved across the skin similar to a manual massage.
Benefits of Cupping Therapy
Cupping therapy has a number of significant and tangible physical benefits for anyone seeking to relieve muscle tension and soreness after a tough workout or race, decrease recovery time between workouts, or speed healing after an injury. Cupping works by creating negative pressure within the muscles and fascia at the target area; this negative pressure promotes and improves blood flow to that area, leading to specific benefits such as:
- Removal of toxins and dead cells to speed healing and regeneration
- Improved elasticity due to warming and softening of the skin and underlying tissues
- Decreased muscle soreness and tightness
- Enhanced circulation
- Reduced inflammation
And it’s important not to forget relaxation! Yes, that’s right. Cupping therapy, similar to massage, can help eliminate emotional toxins and promote feelings of calmness and relaxation. At first, some patients may be concerned that cupping therapy is going to be uncomfortable, painful, and/or stressful. In fact, however, most patients find the experience extremely soothing, and in many cases, because cupping is actually less intense than a sports massage, it can enable the therapy to provide a longer-duration, and therefore more effective, overall treatment.
Does Cupping Therapy Leave Bruising?
Cupping can temporarily alter the color of the skin as it is pulled up into the cups. This is actually a positive effect of cupping: healthy tissue colors less than unhealthy tissue, so the changes in skin tone can help the therapist pinpoint specific areas requiring more intensive treatment. Healthy tissue should not leave dark circles or bruising; in all cases, however, any changes in skin color and/or bruising are temporary. Before you start your cupping therapy, your licensed massage therapist should discuss your specific treatment and any potential side affects you may experience during and after the treatment.
Whether you simply like to stay fit through an active lifestyle or you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, cupping therapy can play an important role in maintaining, and enhancing, the health of the muscles and tissues you rely on for peak athletic performance. When performed by an experienced and licensed massage therapists at Tampa Massage Clinic, cupping therapy can facilitate both physical and emotional relaxation to ensure that you can be at your best both on and off the field!
At the Tampa Massage Clinic, located in Tampa, Florida, nothing is more important than human touch. To schedule an appointment with Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Pediatric Massage Instructor, Jakki Bosco LMT, please call (813) 298-5603.
Serving patients in and around greater Tampa Bay, Town N Country, Clearwater, St. Pete, Carrollwood, East Lake, Westchase, Land O Lakes, Wesley Chapel, Lutz, University of South Florida, Brandon, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Dundin, Hillsborough County, and Pasco County Florida.