Cupping therapy is an ancient form of medicine that has benefits for pain, inflammation, blood flow, and relaxation. Fire cupping is performed with rounded glass cups that are heated with fire, and then placed on the skin to create suction. Modern cups do not require the use of fire, and, instead, facilitate suction by manually increasing pressure on the skin. The circulation of and blood are increased, which relieves muscle tension and promotes cellular repair. Athletes and Olympians, such as Michael Phelps, have been seen with cupping marks when competing.

cupping - danielle burke

Increased blood flow assists the body in flushing out toxins, restoring lymphatic circulation, and removing excess fluid from the body. Deep relaxation is promoted when cupping engages the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for slowing the heart rate, assisting in digestion, and increasing intestinal and gland activity. Therefore, it is recommended to drink plenty of water post treatment.

Cupping also has benefits for those early on in experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms. Receiving a session in the first 2 days of symptoms drastically reduces the chance of the pathogen invading the body further. Stretch marks, scars, and varicose veins can show improvement with cupping therapy, too. Effects of cupping may include slight bruising or soreness that usually last a few days. Most patients experience immediate results after a cupping session with less muscle tension and a feeling of relaxation.