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By now you’ve probably seen the marks. Athletes, celebrities and probably some of your friends are sporting circular marks on their backs and shoulders that make it look like they got into a fight with a vacuum cleaner.

Those marks are from cupping therapy, and are different from typical bruises in important ways. Typically, bruises occur when a tissue experiences trauma and the underlying blood vessels break. Cupping marks do not come from trauma – cupping pulls up on the tissue (the opposite of blunt trauma) like a suction cup, allowing blood and fluid to move more freely into the tissue underneath. The marks are not tender to the touch like a bruise either – most people actually think cupping feels quite good!

Cupping therapy is most often used to treat tight muscular tissue, but can also be very helpful in promoting blood flow to injured tissue (following a trauma), draining excess fluids, loosening adhesions (knots), and lifting connective tissue. This last function is why cupping can even be used for facial rejuvenation and cellulite!

I employ cupping in my practice a lot for sports injury, tight muscles and to help promote relaxation. There is a concept in Chinese Medicine that pain and stress cause stagnation, or areas of tissue to be stuck. Cupping and acupuncture are great ways to create movement in this tissue, thus relieving the effects of stress and eliminating pain.

Interested in learning more about cupping? Give me a call or shoot me an email.

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