Tag Archives: cupping for shoulder pain

Michael Phelps Does Cupping, Should You?

The Rio Olympics brought some curious attention to an ancient practice that started on the other side of the globe when Michael Phelps stood on the swimming podium and showed off his new temporary tattoos, er, cup marks. Helped him win some more gold, too.  So what is cupping and how can it help you?
According to Acupuncture Today, cupping is one of the oldest methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  In China, cupping is used primarily to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion; arthritis; gastrointestinal disorders; and certain types of pain. Some practitioners also use cupping to treat depression and reduce swelling. I have found that it can have calming and balancing effect on the nervous system when used along the spinal muscles. And it is most effective for those with tight, painful conditions of the back, shoulders and neck. Patients that work hunched over, such as drivers, beauticians and dental hygienists really  benefit from cupping. Usually I will use cups on the back, shoulders or abdomen and may combine it with gua-sha, which is easier to use on smaller areas such as the neck and forearms.
How does it work?

In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball which is soaked in alcohol, lit, then temporarily placed inside the cup to remove the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.The cup is turned upside-down and placed over a specific area. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.  The cups may be left in place for 5-10 minutes, or may be moved around with a technique called “sliding cupping”.

Is it safe?

 While cupping is considered relatively safe  it can cause some swelling and  may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days to a week of treatment.

Can I get cupping without acupuncture?

Specifically for those who may be nervous about acupuncture I offer a 60 minute Chinese Medical Cupping and Tui-Na Combination Therapy for $120. This therapy combines two of the most therapeutic non-acupuncture tools of the Chinese Medicine system for relieve muscle soreness and increasing flexibility.

In this treatment, cupping therapy is then followed with Tui-Na. This hands on treatment involves manipulation of myofascial tissue, incorporates acupressure, and helps to re-align muscles, tendons and ligaments. This strongly encourages a harmonious flow of qi through the muscles and meridians. This combined therapy loosens up tight, sore muscles, increases joint flexibility and will leave you feeling relaxed and invigorated. You can call our office or schedule this therapy online by clicking here:

Schedule a Cupping /Tui Na Therapy