Cupping is an alternative medical practice that involves placing glass or plastic cups at various locations on the skin in order to create suction. Its most common and well-documented uses are as a treatment for headache and other types of pain, but some practitioners, past and present, have used it to treat a wide range of other ailments, from acne and varicose veins to allergies, high blood pressure, and anemia. Michael Phelps is perhaps the most well-known, but not the only, professional athlete, to use cupping therapy to relieve muscle pains. U.S. gymnast Alex Naddour competed in the 2016 Olympics with round, red marks on his arms and back; these were cupping therapy marks, not a stylized tribute to the Olympic rings. Cupping therapy is not just for celebrities! 
The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite
Pain Management
May Stimulate the Body’s Immune Response
May Help Treat Specific Health Conditions
A 2012 review of 135 cupping studies found that cupping therapy may be effective (in conjunction with other treatments like acupuncture or medication) in treating a specific group of health conditions including:
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Facial paralysis
  • Herpes zoster (shingles)
  • Acne


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