If you watched the Rio 2016 Olympics, you may have noticed some of the athletes – including Michael Phelps – sporting some interesting bruising patterns.

This circular red/purple mark is the result of a technique called cupping.

Dry Cupping

A glass, plastic, or silicone cup is placed on the skin where the air within the cup is removed causing a vacuum effect.

Dry cupping is a safe and beneficial technique. Clients with neck and shoulder pain experienced a decrease in pain after receiving dry cupping treatment.

The application of cups can be used to treat a variety of conditions such as:

Dry cupping increases the blood flow to sore areas in muscles, providing important nutrients to the area that promote healing. This saturation can often leave a circular mark, which is consistent with a hicky or love bite mark. However, this usually disappears after a day or so and happens to a lesser extent on subsequent treatments. Due to the vacuum effect, the soft tissue often experiences micro-trauma and separation between the tissues. The natural response of the body to this is micro-trauma by stimulating an inflammatory response. This is part of the natural healing process. The body releases chemicals to initiate healing. The stretch that is created leads to a relaxation effect within the muscle, and as a result increased range of motion and performance.

What Are the Benefits of dry cupping?

Dry cupping can provide pain relief and help ease the symptoms of many common disorders of the bones and muscles. Dry Cupping helps aid soft tissue injuries and reduce pain or discomfort by increasing localised circulation, increasing oxygen and nutrients within the tissue, removing waste products, starting the healing process, and stretches fascia and connective tissue, which leads to a relaxation response.

Dry cupping is particularly beneficial if you suffer from neck, shoulder, low back or foot pain, and it’s even been shown to be effective for osteoarthritis!

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