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Posted on: September 6, 2016

Cupping Therapy

 After a stunning performance in the 2016 Summer Olympics by Michael Phelps where he competed while covered in small, dark circles, people around the world have begun asking about the massage therapy technique called cupping. Like many forms of alternative medicine, controversy surrounds this treatment method and some doubt its efficacy, but Phelps, US gymnast Alex Naddour, and many more athletes have experienced its benefits and promoted its use before and after competing in events to enhance their performance.

  Cupping is an ancient form of therapy that has been in use for most of modern history, appearing in ancient medical texts from Egypt and Greece, and it may have been commonly used as long as five thousand years ago. As the name suggests, it involves placing cups on the body in targeted locations, where suction is created inside to draw the skin into the empty space above. There are various tools used to create the suction, including traditional heated glass cups that create vacuums as they cool and modern silicone cups that make use of mechanical pumps.   By having cups placed correctly by trained massage therapists, muscles, and tissues underneath the skin release and relax, with possible benefits including healthier skin, improved circulation, stress relief and promoting of general relaxation, and a marked reduction in muscle and joint pain. Some therapists even claim that it can aid in respiratory system health and promote proper digestion.   For the aspiring massage student looking to practice cupping, certification programs are available worldwide anywhere massage therapy is taught, including medical clinics, rehab centers, and specialized massage schools. Training and certification will take around two to three days to complete, typically including a seminar on the history and benefits of this technique as well as hands-on training to prepare the massage student to start practicing immediately.

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