4 Major Questions New Patients have about Cupping, Explained

The Rio Olympics forced cupping into the limelight. Here’s what to know about one of the oldest methods of alternative medicine:

What is it?

Suction cups are placed over particular points on the body to treat different types of pains and conditions. There are two different types of cupping: Wet cupping (also known as Hijama), and Dry cupping (Fire cupping and Air cupping). At Optimal we use Air cupping, which involves creating a small area of low air pressure next to the skin.

How does it work?

Cupping pulls blood to a region to stimulate healing. As new blood is forced into the tissues, the body will develop new blood vessels called neovascularization (new blood vessel formation). As new vessels form, they will have the capability to feed tissues with nutrients and oxygen. This is when the dark circular hickey mark is produced. There is a variety of tools used to create the low pressure, but more recently, a vacuum can be created using a mechanical suction pump through a valve located on the cup. The cups can be various shapes and sizes.

Is it helpful?

Here’s a list of cupping’s main benefits:

  • Increases circulation
  • Increases oxygenation and tissue delivery
  • Removes old, stagnant blood
  • Causes beneficial inflammation
  • Creates new blood vessels
  • Stretches fascia and connective tissue

Is it safe?

Yes! Cupping is non-invasive and leaves no residual side effects.

WATCH these videos to see how we’ve applied cupping therapy to relieve pain in the shoulder, back, and knee.


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