Cupping Therapy is not simply a “hickey” meant to “bruise” the person and magically “heal” someone. In the United States it is most often associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine, however it has deep roots throughout Asia and Eastern Europe, especially Russia and its historical regions, being used to encourage or boost the body to heal during an episode of sickness. Cupping Therapy traditionally creates a vacuum effect by lighting a match within a glass, bamboo or other wooden “cup”, and then quickly placing on the patient to create a “pulling” or vacuum effect on the skin. Eastern Medicinal Theory promotes an interaction with your natural “Chi” or energy, which encompasses your body to promote homeostasis/balance. Eastern Medicine is legitimate and may be the most meaningful form of medicine in existence, but Western science has come along way and is more accepting of traditional treatments in updated modern treatment concepts. ESP Sports Medicine uses a contemporary vacuum cupping technique, without fire, but rather a strong pull from a hand held pump or an electric vacuum machine.
Over the past 10 years Cupping Therapy and particularly Vacuum Cupping, using a vacuum machine to create negative pressure, has become much more accepted and common as the research has supported the progressive, non-traditional benefits for the therapy. Personally, I have used the practice in combination with Graston Technique and Dry Needling extensively over my Olympic career to promote an accelerated healing reaction. Instead of waiting for you heal, we support the healing process and promote a change that we can work with. How can you fully recover from an injury when the muscle, tendons and connective tissue is “vacuum packed” to your bone? Let’s pull it off with Cupping, loosen it up and then be able to strengthen or stretch it. It’s very simple.
While much of our Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine community continues to focus on only making you “Feel” better, the most progressive and committed providers are invested in making you “Heal” and “Move” better. Well, the soft tissue have to be free, feeling and healing for us to get the best outcomes. Vacuum Cupping and other Cupping applications, supported by researched microvascular, mechanical and neurological improvements in healing, have a foot hold in managing pain and injury in most practices. By allowing blood to finally be delivered to soft tissues (muscle, tendon, ligaments, fascia), separating soft tissue so it can move and finally respond to exercise, while influencing and encouraging the nervous system/brain to desensitize, CuppingTherapy has helped lead Sports Medicine into another generation of managing injury for Elite Athletes and everyday people.