Suction Therapy Seems To Be The Latest Trend For Olympians and Movie Stars Alike, But What Is It Exactly?
Pictures of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps covered in strange, circular bruises have caused a massive spike in interest in what is known as “cupping therapy.” Other big names like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston have also been spotted with similar markings. The technique involves applying negative pressure to a person’s underlying sore tissue using a tool that resembles a suction cup.
New York physical therapist Michael Mancuso explained that this ancient practice is typically used on the patient’s back to stretch out muscles and bring local inflammation to an area, which increases healing and can even break up post-surgery scar tissue. “It can be used on anyone, really, from Olympic athletes to a 59-year-old desk worker with back pain and stiffness,” said Mancuso in an interview with People magazine.
So How is it Done in Practice?
There are many different methods of cupping therapy, some more popular than others. For the purpose of this post we will be discussing the most common techniques which are dry cupping, vacuum cupping, wet cupping and massage cupping.
This is the most basic method, and is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt as far back as 3000 BC. Patients lay flat on their stomachs while practitioners light combustible material (alcohol, herbs, paper) and slip it into the cup to heat the glass. As soon as the fire dies, the cup is placed on the affected area of the back and the cooling air creates a vacuum that causes the blood vessels under the skin to expand and redden. The cup is left for approximately 10 minutes before removal.
Is Suction Cup Therapy Effective?
The short answer is yes, as athletes and non-athletes alike have been anecdotally reporting positive results worldwide, which is causing a steep rise in use by athletic trainers, physical therapists, and even coaches! A few of official medical studies have been conducted with varying results, as it is difficult to effectively quantify exactly how much tension is being released.
We at Miotech have certainly been recommending cupping therapy for years based solely on the raving reviews and success stories we have heard from countless physical therapy experts that have tried it with their patients. In fact, we carry an affordable medical-grade kit that is designed to be used professionally as well as at home. Don’t worry though, we’ve definitely decided to stick with the modernized vacuum version that’s more effective, not to mention a bit more appropriate for this century.
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