Therapeutic Cupping is a form of alternative medicine that dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. Treatment consists of cups that are placed on the skin with negative air pressure to create suction. It is believed that the suction of the cups increases blood flow and mobilizes tissue to increase range of motion, decrease pain and promote healing. The increased local blood supply will nourish the muscles and skin and allow toxins to be carried away to the lymphatic system. By creating this suction, cupping therapy can be used to drain excess fluids and toxins, stimulate the peripheral nervous system, bring blood flow to stagnant muscles and skin, and loosen adhesions, connective tissue and stubborn knots in soft tissue. As the skin is lifted away from the muscle and fascia, it breaks up local adhesions thereby improving tissue extensibility, decreasing pain and restoring proper movement patterns.
The cups can be left on a particular location for 5-10 minutes, or can be dragged along the skin to increase the treatment area, and improve tissue mobility. Therapeutic Cupping is also often used to improve skin elasticity around keloid scar tissue. Research supporting the efficacy of cupping is limited, however many patients report improvements in symptoms after just a single session. Common side effects include localized redness and bruising that may last for several days.
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