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What is Cupping and Why It Should be a Part of Your Chiropractic Care?
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a myofascial decompression technique that we achieve through suctioning the skin and fascia using small cups and a plunging tool. We place various sized cups on the injured area and use a plunger tool to create a negative pressure by removing the air out of the cups. This will lift the skin and fascia and bring blood flow to the area.
How Does Cupping Work?
At Team Elite, we leave the cups on for 5-10 minutes. Once the patient gets comfortable with the cups on, we will have the patient perform several range-of-motion exercises to allow the muscles and fascia to glide beneath the cups. For example, if we have cups placed on a patient's lower back, we’ll ask them to do several rounds of cat/cow exercises. If we have cups placed on a patient's shoulder, we’ll ask them to perform a pitching motion. Having the patient mimic real-life motions allows the muscle to move beneath the cups, instead of remaining fixed in one area.
Is Cupping Safe?
Cupping is a safe, effective, and long-standing alternative medicine practice. It often causes red or even dark purple discoloration on the area being treated. It’s important to note that although these marks look like bruises, they are not bruises. Cupping does not cause damage to the tissue like a bruise does. This discoloration is from disrupting stagnant blood flow in the injured area. When we perform cupping, we are loosening all the stagnant blood flow in the area and bringing fresh blood flow back in to heal the area, this is what causes the discoloration. The discoloration can last up to 1 week after cupping, depending on how tight the muscle being treated is. The discoloration is more intense in color (dark purple) when tissue is very tight, dysfunctional, or knotted up. As the area receives more treatment and begins to heal, the discoloration will become less intense (red or light red), and eventually, the patient may not experience any discoloration at all.
What are the Benefits of Cupping?
Incorporating cupping into your chiropractic care helps to speed up recovery, ease pain, and treat injuries more effectively. When a patient is experiencing severe tightness or strain, we don’t want to over-stretch the area. We will utilize cupping to loosen the muscles, without causing too much pain or strain. We also leverage cupping before a chiropractic adjustment to relax the muscle in the area we are adjusting, this allows the joint to move easier during the adjustment.
Overall, cupping is a safe and effective tool we use at Team Elite Chiropractic to provide comprehensive chiropractic care to athletes and athletic-minded individuals in San Diego.