Olympic swimmers sporting dark circles on their skin introduced a worldwide audience to one of Chinese medicine’s lesser-known, yet 3,000-year-old healing techniques called cupping or more precisely, myofascial decompression (MFD) as applied to sports medicine.
According to local Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Patti Carey, “There are different types and ways to use cups. I use a variety of cups and select the type and size based on the patient and what I am treating. Most often I do ‘fire cupping’, which is the traditional style of cupping. It is great for pain, overuse of muscles (athletes and weekend warriors and over-exercisers), colds, flu, stress, headaches, tension, herpes zoster and many other types of conditions.”
Dana Russell, owner of The Cupping Guru, shares, “I specialize in contemporary cupping, which uses medical-grade silicone cups. This gives me far more control of the depth and movement, and I do quite a bit of moving particular flexible cups. The moving cupping is fantastic for lymphatic drainage, scar tissue elimination, myofascial release
and even cellulite reduction. Cupping has been around for thousands of years, but the contemporary cupping methods and tools are pretty new.”
Chiropractor, Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor Zhangping Lu, of New Star Chiropractic and Acupuncture explains, “I use ‘air’ cupping with acupuncture, and work very often with patients suffering from back, neck, shoulder or knee pain. Air cups are not heated to create suction. Instead, they have small valves at the top and a hand-operated pump is used to suction air out to create the suction. Like acupuncture, cupping follows meridian lines, helps to align and relax qi and promote healing as it pulls built-up toxins from as deep as up to four inches to the surface, where capillary and lymphatic systems can more easily release them.”
Practitioners agree that cupping generally is not recommended for pregnant women, some older individuals or people that are very fatigued or have certain skin conditions. All recommend finding a well-trained, experienced practitioner it can determine if cupping is right for the patient.