What is cupping?
Cupping is not a new therapy although it had a recent surge in popularity as high profile athletes have been seen with the characteristic large red dots on their skin during sporting events. Cupping in our clinic is most often used to increase soft tissue mobility and speed the healing process by promoting increased blood flow to a needed region.
Cupping is not a comfortable treatment generally speaking. Fortunately, it can be administered in varying amounts of pressure which makes it manageable for most of our patients who need this helpful treatment.
Rather than using glass cups and a flame we use a variable pressure pump that allows us to tailor your treatment in ranges of comfort for the individual.
Our therapists are highly skilled and capable of utilizing this treatment to bring you lasting relief from nagging pains and injury.
Cupping is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice that involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. This practice dates back over 2,000 years but has received recent attention due to its use by world-class athletes for injury relief.
The cups used in cupping are typically made of bamboo, glass, or earthenware. It’s believed that the effect of suction on the skin helps increase blood flow and promotes healing; however, the way in which cupping may have an effect on the body is unclear. In a peer-reviewed study1, researchers concluded that cupping could be effective in treating the pain and disability associated with chronic neck pain and chronic low-back pain in the short term.
Cupping is generally safe for healthy people when performed by one of our trained health professionals. Some of the side effects like bruising and soreness are possible.
What are the Benefits of Cupping?
Sometimes, cupping can be described as a “tissue distraction” technique. Cupping involves moving the cups across the body to lift and separate tissue. This helps to increase the release of interfaces between neural tissues, fascia and skin, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and other structures. It can relax muscles, release trigger points, increase lymphatic flow, increase local circulation, and release scar tissue adhesion. There is evidence that cupping can be used to treat fibromyalgia, chronic neck pain, and low back pain.
There are three types of cupping techniques: cross-fiber, circular, and longitudinal. The most popular form of cupping is the longitudinal. This involves the cup being glided longitudinally across muscle fibers. Cross fiber is when the tissue is thought to be scarred. To ensure that all areas are covered, circular is used in the final session.
Cupping is an extremely popular and common practice among athletes. After a cupping session lasting three minutes, a patient who had suffered from iliotibial bands (ITB) pain for over a year reported immediate relief. A week later, the technique was again used. After only two sessions of cupping, he was pain-free and able to resume his normal running routine.
What can I expect from a cupping treatment in Ankeny, IA?
Cupping can be a complicated process. The cup will be set on fire by the physical therapist. The cup will then be turned upside down and placed on your skin. The cup will cool and create a vacuum. This causes the skin to rise, and blood vessels to expand.
Modern practices use rubber pumps to create vacuum instead of fire, and silicone cups can sometimes be used to create a massage effect.
Cupping has many benefits. Cupping can improve your skin, reduce inflammation, and help you breathe better. It can also be used to reduce symptoms and speed up recovery from certain injuries or ailments.
Ask your physical therapist how cupping might help you.
Cupping is a helpful alternative treatment for some. Please share your complete health history with your therapist and they will discuss the benefits and possible side effects of cupping to make sure it is right for you.
Our team of specialists can help you if you are suffering from an injury or other health issue that prevents you from living the life you desire. To determine if cupping is right for you, we will arrange a meeting with one of our licensed physical therapists.
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“Josh was so knowledgeable and professional. Highly recommend!!! 👏”
“I have suffered from low back pain for over 15 years. I’ve tried several therapies to try to relieve the pain, including pain medication, traditional physical therapy, warm pool therapy, three different chiropractic styles, even spinal epidural injections. After about two months of sessions with Dr. Stewart, my mobility has increased, my pain levels have dropped significantly, and I have control of my own progress with the lessons and exercises he’s taught me. I truly believe I’ve avoided the eventuality of back surgery thanks to Dr. Stewart’s treatment, and I would highly recommend anyone with similar symptoms to contact him!”