Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Dry cupping is a traditional massage and acupuncture techniques that have been prominent within Asian and Middle Eastern Culture for many centuries and has proven to be significantly beneficial to treat pain, assist sports injuries as well as aid in the recovery of skin conditions such as acne. Due to this, many modern practitioners have adopted the technique and have implemented it within their physiotherapy and massage treatments as a means of assisting the recovery process of a wide variety of patients.
But what is cupping?
Using glass, bamboo or silicone cups, dry cupping involves creating suction between the rim of the cups and a patients skin in order to create a vacuum-like lift in the soft tissue that is able to stretch the skin to in turn increase blood flow and reduce the tension that may have built up in the muscles. The process is effective as it stimulates the body to create fresh blood (known as neovascularization) within the suctioned tissue and can hence produce an increase in circulation, a greater spread of oxygen flow, rehabilitation to the body’s healing process and the removal of stagnant blood within the body.
How can it help me?
Those who receive dry cupping often cite that they notice an instant reduction in pained areas throughout the body as the process relaxes their muscles and joints to ultimately remove any pre-existing tension that may have been limiting movement or creating sharp pains when moving. In this, cupping is able to significantly reduce local pains within the body as it can effectively reduce any energy blockages that may have been preventing the healthy flow of blood.
Recent studies have shown that cupping may be beneficial to assisting skin conditions including acne, psoriasis or eczema as it is able to remove heat and stagnation within the skin that causes dryness or high sensitivity which are the leading causes of such skin conditions. It is common that wet cupping techniques will be more effective with healing skin conditions as small incisions made in the skin are able to assist with the rehabilitation of blood flow at a faster and more efficient, pace.
There has been an increase of professional athletes that are using cupping in order to improve their recovery to ensure consistent performance within their profession. The process was highly used throughout the 2016 Olympics where many athletes in swimming events could be seen with cup-shaped marks on their bodies. This is because the practice is able to remove any tensions that may have been caused during prior sports injuries to allow for quick pain reduction during movement and thus an increased feeling of mobility.