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Cupping - Real or Legend?

Cupping on the leg can help reduce knee and muscle pain.

Four years ago, at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps emerged into the Olympic pool covered in purple, round, bruises bringing the topic of cupping into every living room and media platform. While cupping has recently become mainstream, it is certainly not new. In fact, cupping can be traced back to some of the oldest medical textbooks, including one from 1550BC. These ancient accounts utilize cupping for various ailments from lung disease to infections. Today, it is widely used for pain relief like back pain, knee pain, neck pain, arthritis, and musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains, strains, and ligament tears. 

Cupping involves using round cups that are either manually pumped or heated to create a suction and placed on the skin; they are left in place for several minutes. The initial suction may cause some discomfort that usually subsides after a few seconds. This suction promotes blood flow which promotes healing and provides pain relief. Cupping can also help decrease swelling and inflammation by helping the body reabsorb fluid that may have accumulated due to an injury or pain. Decreasing inflammation and reducing muscle tension often leads to improvements in range of motion. Many will report experiencing some pain relief instantaneously, such as going from a pain of a 9 to a 3 on a pain scale of 10.  

The main side effects of cupping are those red to purple circular bruises, which some may or may not experience. While these bruises may look painful, they are painless and should heal on their own in roughly 4-10 days.  For most cupping is safe, however it is important to see a professional who is licensed and trained to perform such therapy. 

If you are interested in cupping, book an appointment today. Click here to book an appointment

Or is it legend? I say that these marks are the battle scars of the tenacious fight with the legendary giant squid. The scars emerge every full moon (because every good legend requires a full moon) to remind one of their glorious victory.


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Important Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only; it is NOT meant to substitute professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should NOT use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem/disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.

Dr. Pamela Santapaola Dr. Pamela Santapaola Dr. Pamela Santapaola (AKA Dr. Pam) is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Connecticut and co-owner of Healing Duo Integrative Family Medical Practice. Dr. Pam has a passion for educating, whether it be through her writings or in her office in a one-to-one setting. She is an advocate of making small lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in the future. Her goal is to enlighten individuals about holistic medicine and empower them to make the changes necessary to live a healthier life. As her saying goes, "It’s time for you to start feeling like your best self.”

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