Why Athletes and Others Use Cupping Therapy

We often get calls from people wanting to learn more about cupping therapy to find out how it could be useful in improving their health or well-being. This is an ancient form of Chinese medicine and is incredibly effective for treating a variety of conditions and improving a person's overall health. Cupping therapy:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increases blood flow
  • Supports relaxation
  • Is an alternative to deep tissue massage
  • Helps with pain management

Even athletes like cupping therapy

This form of Chinese medicine has also become popular with athletes that are looking to recover. Michael Phelps is an example of an Olympian who has used this therapy on a regular basis. He has done so to help reduce muscle tension and speed up recovery to improve performance. Gymnasts including those like Alex Naddour have also used cupping therapy to enhance their performance. It is also all natural and drug-free.

How it works

There are several ways to complete the therapy but one of the most common is to create a suction on the skin using glass or silicone cups. This works to increase blood flow to that specific area. The cups are typically left in place for around 10 minutes.

Another option is to move the cups around, dragging them towards the lymphatic system with only minimal suction. This movement is what allows cupping to be similar to a deep tissue massage.

It should not hurt

Because cupping can leave dark red marks, although temporary, many people are fearful that it hurts. This is not the case. Some people experience minimal discomfort but for most people, there is no pain or discomfort at all. Some say they feel a pinching sensation but it is slight and does not last. Anyone who is sore will typically feel better within 24 hours. To lessen the likelihood of this issue, we recommend drinking a lot of water and taking a hot shower before coming in since that will help to relax the tissue.

The marks

Anyone who is concerned about cupping therapy because of the potential marks should be aware that they will go away. Also, not everyone develops dark red or purple marks. Those that do typically are eliminating a lot of toxins from the body or have poor circulation in that particular area. The healthier a person is, the fainter the marks will be. Although this is generally what happens it is important to understand that each person will react slightly differently.


Most of our patients report experiencing results right away, making this procedure incredibly popular for someone who needs to experience fast pain relief. Keep in mind that this ultimately works to increase circulation so can be used in all areas of the body and once done, the body will experience the benefits of having additional blood flow to the area. Whether that means trying to improve the appearance of skin in that area of the body or working to reduce pain, cupping can be an effective solution. Because of this, some people use cupping to reduce inflammation, address sinus infections or even reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Experience cupping for yourself

The results are going to be different based on each patient and the area of the body that is treated. To find out what it can do for you, call and schedule an appointment to try it yourself. We welcome questions as well so feel free to ask them in person or over the phone.

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