Marcum Chiropractic’s acupuncturist, Sierra Abate, gets amazing results with her treatments. She utilizes traditional acupuncture treatments including a procedure called “cupping” that was brought to the world’s attention by the marks on swimmer Michael Phelps during the Olympic Games years ago. Please see below for further information and call us at 503-235-7130 to schedule a treatment with Sierra:
What is cupping?
Cupping involves placing cups onto the skin, creating a vacuum of negative pressure by either heat or manual suction. Cups can be made of glass, plastic, silicone, or bone. They may be placed stationary or gliding over the skin. In a way, cupping is similar to a massage but the pressure is opposite. Instead of applying pressure to the muscles, cupping pulls the muscles upwards giving them a break from the
constant pressure they feel against bones and surrounding tissue.
What does cupping do?
Trauma/Injury cause the muscles to contract and tense up which impedes blood and oxygen flow to the site of injury as well as the surrounding area, creating pain. Cupping moves stuck or impeded blood flow, which in Chinese Medicine is associated with the term Blood and Qi stagnation. Cupping brings blood, fluid, and oxygen to the area to:
– Improve microcirculation*
– Increases lymphatic drainage
– Promotes capillary endothelial cell repair
– Stimulates the nervous system
*A 2017 study was able to confirm that cupping enhanced local oxygen uptake and promotes
blood microcirculation, which contributes to an increased rate of recovery from pain, illness,
Fun fact: Cupping is thought to affect the body up to 4” from the surface, making it a valuable
treatment for not only muscle tension but a plethora of conditions. For example, placing the cups on the abdomen can help alleviate digestive issues including constipation and diarrhea. Placing the cups on specific acupuncture points on the chest or back can help with asthma, anxiety, common cold, insomnia, and much more. These are just a few of the many ways cupping can help the body heal.
What are the marks left by cupping?
These marks are often confused with bruises. A bruise by definition is injury of the soft tissue that results in breakage of the local capillaries causing small amounts of bleeding under the skin. Bruises are often painful to the touch and fade into a green or yellowish color. Experts have found that cupping marks fade away without turning a yellow-green color. This suggests that capillaries and blood vessels did not break as a result of cupping. It is more likely that this is blood stagnation in the area that is brought up to the surface resulting in the colors of reds and purples. Also, important to note that cupping marks are not painful like bruises often are.
Reference: Li, T., Li, Y., Lin, Y., Li, K. (2017). Significant and sustaining elevation of blood oxygen
induced by Chinese cupping therapy as assessed by near-infrared spectroscopy. Biomedical
Optics Express, 8(1), 223-229.