Cupping therapy is a Chinese medicine technique in which suction cups are placed on the skin to mobilize blood flow, reduce pain, and promote healing. Even though cupping has been practiced in ancient Egypt and in China since 1000BC, most Americans first learned about it while watching the 2008 Summer Olympics, noting the large circular marks on the backs of Chinese swimmers. Most recently, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Michael Phelps made a splash with his own cup marks. Luckily, us non-Olympians can also benefit from this gold medal-worthy treatment!
Cupping is extremely effective as a natural back pain treatment, neck pain treatment, shoulder pain treatment, as well as sciatica treatment (Cao, 2012). Further, ongoing studies show that this ancient practice is a promising natural treatment for shingles (herpes zoster), facial paralysis (Bell palsy), cough and dyspnea, acne, lumbar disc herniation, and cervical spondylosis (Kim, 2011). Unlike conventional pain medications, cupping has no side effects, except for the tell-tale purple marks of this highly effective pain treatment. (The marks are not permanent and fade after a few days.) Most clients agree that this is a small price to pay for a pain-free life—unless you wear a bikini for a living!