Cupping Therapy

What is Cupping?

Cupping is a suction technique designed to pull toxic build up and muscle spasm from the body’s deeper tissue to the surface of the skin. The cells of the body use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide; resulting in a buildup of lactic acid. This buildup of lactic acid results in muscle fatigue and soreness, often referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness. Most have experienced this feeling after a workout or a period of intense physical activity. Cupping is a soft tissue massage technique that helps to remove the buildup of lactic acid in the tissue by pooling healthy oxygenated blood in the area. The lactic acid is pulled into the interstitial space of the tissue and is removed through the lymphatic system. This healthy oxygenated blood helps to decrease inflammation, promote tissue healing, and decreases pain. The suction mechanism of cupping helps to break down scar tissue allowing the muscles to relax and elongate decreasing muscle tension and tightness.

What Can Cupping Treat?

Cupping can be used to treat problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches/migraines, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, arthritic pain, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be treated with Cupping.

When preformed by a skilled practitioner Cupping is safe and effective for both adults and children aged 3 and up.

How is Cupping performed?

Treatment commences by the chiropractor assessing and palpating the areas of complaint to see what areas/muscles require treatment. Oil is then applied to the area to allow the cups to be moved in particular motions. Light to moderate suction strength cups are applied, and moved (glided) around the area being treated, this increases the circulation in the area and feels similar to massage (but in an upward pulling of the muscles). The chiropractor will then apply some stagnant cups (with varying suction strengths, depending on patient’s needs, preferences, and pain tolerance) around the area being treated. Cups are commonly placed along muscle attachment sites and along the belly of the muscle, resulting in a deep stretch of the muscle and fascia, while increasing the blood circulation throughout the area. If one area is being treated cupping treatments can vary between 5-10 minutes. When multiple areas are being treated at the same time, appointments can vary from 30 to 60 minutes.

What are the Cupping marks?

The marks left behind from the cups, resemble a bruise, but are not a true bruise, as no blood vessel damage/trauma occurs during treatment. The marks do not hurt. The marks are a result of the oxidation of the waste products within the interstitial space. The darker the marks, the greater the buildup of waste products in the tissue. Darker marks are often associated with chronic conditions.  On average the marks take 7-12 days to disappear, but sometimes they take less or longer, depending on the health of patient and how fast their lymphatic system can remove the blood, waste and by-products of inflammation from the interstitial space.


For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at (780) 640-9488

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