Cupping......is it all just for show?
Updated: Oct 23
Cupping Therapy (CT) is an ancient method and currently used in the treatment of a broad range of presentations. Nonetheless the mechanism of action of (CT) is not fully understood.
So lets get to it....You will hear many statements on the how's and why's ...apparently, no single theory exists to explain the whole effects of cupping. Essentially, in one article, six theories have been suggested to explain the effects produced by cupping therapy.
Pain reduction and changes in biomechanical properties of the skin could be explained by “Pain-Gate Theory”, “Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Controls” and “Reflex zone theory”. Muscle relaxation, changes in local tissue structures and increase in blood circulation might be explained by “Nitric Oxide theory”. Immunological effects and hormonal adjustments might be attributed to “Activation of immune system theory”.
For me, if you have crunchy, sticky or tight muscles, cupping may just help that feel a whole lot better. Whether it be an old injury, or you just have chronic pain or that 'text neck' or 'keyboard shoulder' , cupping might be that help you were looking for.
While hard to describe the feeling, painful is not one adjective used. A little tight, strangely relieving are two terms used ....and the feeling of relief it can bring is something to be experienced rather. than explained.
The marks it leaves can vary in colour however they generally fade in a few days. In the meantime they make for a good conversation starter or "insta" story.
For my work, I will use it in conjunction with acupuncture to assist in relief for neck, shoulder or back pain.
As with all interventions, further research is needed to support or refute the aforesaid theories, and also develop innovative conceptualisations of (CT) in future.
Reading / Reference: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411018300191