Cupping in the Olympics

If you have been watching the Olympics you have probably noticed the red circles on some of the athletes bodies.

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Most prominently on swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Alex Naddour. This is a technique used in Chinese Medicine for over 2000 years traditionally with glass cups and fire to create the vacuum. Now we have more modern pump vacuums and flexible silicone cups to make cupping therapy quick and easy great for athletes or anyone with pain. The athletic trainers at the Olympics are applying the cups to help the athletes recover and relieve pain and have been getting a lot of play on the news as the world wonders what those marks are.


Why would they be using cupping? They have said it is a great recovery tool and with the intensity of training and competing in the Olympics any technique to speed recovery is a great tool!


A couple of our therapists at Massage Works began using massage cups a couple of years ago. It is a very effective tool for myofacial release massage which is usually done with very deep tissue work. It can actually be far less uncomfortable for the client to be cupped.


The Benefits of Cupping:

  • Improved Lymph Circulation
  • Reduction of Pain
  • Release Adhesions
  • Release Tight Contracted Muscles
  • Detoxification
  • Muscle Recovery


What are the red marks? When the suction cups are left stationary on an area they draw blood to through the muscle and to the surface. It looks like a bruise but it is not painful and is just a discoloration from the procedure. It is actually a good mark for which muscles are in worse shape, the darker the cup mark the more stagnant blood was trapped in the muscle and the more it was in need of some therapy to repair it.


In massage we use both moving cups which is less likely to leave marks and also stationary cups which can possibly leave the marks. But our clients find so much relief of tightness and pain the marks don’t bother them. And now with them being seen in the Olympics people will actually know what the marks are!


If you would like to give cupping a try we do offer massage with cupping at Massage Works Los Gatos, Schedule Now and see how it can help you!

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