Cupping therapy is a tremendous treatment option for chronic pain from musculoskeletal and fascial issues like frozen shoulder, fibromyalgia and joint inflammation.
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You may be familiar with the term “cupping” following the 2016 Summer Olympics, when it became a trending topic after Michael Phelps was photographed with mysterious dark circles on his shoulders and back. As it turned out, Phelps was receiving the therapy to help relieve aching joints and muscles.
Cupping is a Chinese therapy that utilizes glass cups to address fascial tissue (the silvery layer attached to muscle) that can become very sensitive and painful.
In this simple procedure, the practitioner will ignite alcohol-soaked cotton balls and swirl them inside the cup to create a vacuum. The cup is then placed on the skin, where it creates a suction and stays on the tissue. Depending on the treatment needed, the cups may be left stationary for 5-10 minutes or can be run up and down the problem area. It is common to see bruising at the cupping site for a few days following a treatment.
Many patients report relief of symptoms after just a few treatments. Depending on the condition, the relief can be permanent or a patient may need periodic treatments to manage symptoms.