Woman receiving cupping treatment on back If you were watching the Summer Olympics and you noticed what looked like round bruises on the U.S. swimmers, you probably wondered what those spots were.

They were the result of a treatment known as cupping.

We offer cupping at Cynergy Physical & Occupational Therapy.

What Is Cupping?

Clinically known as myofascial decompression, cupping is a form of therapy that originated in China over 2,000 years ago. Although it is relatively unknown in Western cultures, cupping has become a popular treatment in sports medicine.

The idea of cupping is to help ease the aches and pains of training and competition and to also enhance health. Instead of using medication to overcome the pain, cupping triggers the body’s own healing mechanisms.

How Does Cupping Work?

In these treatments, a cup pulls an area of skin into a suction. This suction draws fluid into the treated area. The force of the suction expands and breaks open capillaries under the skin. Your body assumes these are injuries and it initiates repair mechanisms to address the injuries. It increases blood flow to the cupped areas, and this enhances the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

What Can Cupping Treat?

Cupping is used to treat a variety of injuries and pain. Cupping is excellent for treating pain and muscle aches from athletic training and competition. At Cynergy, we use cupping to treat chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, cervical spondylosis, and other soft tissue injuries.

Where Are the Cups Usually Placed with Cupping?

At Cynergy, these are the areas we usually place the cups:

  • Back
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Buttocks
  • Legs

The back is the most common location.

How Long Does It Take for the Cupping Marks to Disappear?

These are the marks you’ve seen on athletes at the Olympics. They resemble round bruises. This is due to the broken capillaries, which is the same skin response when force creates a bruise. The surface blood vessels are broken.

At Cynergy, we’ve found the cupping marks usually take about 7 days to clear.

Are you interested in cupping at Cynergy? Call us at any of our five Cynergy PT locations to make an appointment: Midtown West, (212) 974-7252; Chelsea, (212) 255-8080; Midtown East, (212) 980-2963; ADPT by Cynergy, (212) 292-7145; or Cobble Hill, (718) 795-2744.

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