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Cupping: Seeing Spots (On the Backs Of Athletes)?

Cupping is a 2,500-year-old Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique. TCM is a healing system of Eastern medicine that incorporates therapies that are in some cases millennia older. In addition to treating illness, TCM focuses on strengthening the body's defenses and enhancing its capacity for healing and maintaining health.

Cupping is one of TCM’s practices, and involves placing special cups filled with heated air on painful areas of the body. As the cups cool, the volume of air within them shrinks, creating suction on the skin that increases blood flow to the area. It can be used to:

  • Relieve aches and pains
  • Address respiratory problems
  • Ease coughs and wheezing
  • Improve circulation
  • Minimize menstrual symptoms

Cupping can leave bruises that can take a week or more to fade. Sessions should be done by a licensed acupuncturist, and typically last 10 to 15 minutes. Once the marks from the previous session have disappeared, treatment can be repeated.