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Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Cupping Therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine practiced by Acupuncturists and also utilized by some Physiotherapists and Registered Massage Therapists. The technique uses special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get cupping for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. Cupping can leave behind very dark skin bruising but this is not typical bruising as it is not painful. You might remember seeing the post-cupping bruising on Michael Phelps during the Rio 2016 Olympics. Physiotherapists typically use plastic or silicone cups that suction with manually applied pressure. Alternative medicine practitioners, like Acupuncturists, tend to use glass cups with the help of fire to create suction. Clinically, cupping has been used on chronically dysfunctional scar tissue to reduce the stickiness between the layers of skin, soft tissue and muscles. If a patient is experiencing persistent pain that seems soft tissue in origin, cupping can be great at reducing the pain response.

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