The 2016 Summer Olympics has been so much fun to watch! We especially love to see all the coverage on the ways in which the athletes are taking care of their bodies while enduring what we can only imagine involves an intense and grueling amount of training. One thing in particular that has gained a lot of attention is a treatment we offer at Sage Health called, fire cupping.
Athletes such as Michael Phelps and Alex Naddour have both showcased numerous large red circular spots on their shoulders and back — an almost ghastly visual of what fire cupping is known to produce. While these spots may look like the aftermath of some sort of torture device, we can assure you the treatment (when performed properly by a licensed practitioner) is actually quite soothing, for most. In fact, this ancient Chinese medicine practice is meant to be extremely healing and rehabilitative.
What is Fire Cupping and What Does it Do?
Traditional Chinese medicine (AKA as TCM) describes cupping as a method in which a vacuum is created on one’s skin to resolve and dissipate stagnation in the body to improve the flow of qi (free flowing life force). In this case, stagnation might exist in the blood and lymphatic system. The suction created (from inside the cups) is known to loosen muscles and produce a mild sedation and relief to the nervous system, offering relief of muscle stiffness and pain. Additional benefits are known to reduce feelings of anxiety, as well as aid with rheumatism, and fatigue. That’s only a small glimpse of what this treatment can help with.
Fire cupping is often married with acupuncture or massage, but not always. It all depends on the needs of the patient. At Sage Health, we pair it with a treatment known as Tui Na — a form of ancient Chinese therapeutic massage, which utilizes a variance of techniques where a type of rhythmic compression is moved along different energy channels of the body to create a harmonious flow of qi in an effort to create positive balance.
Will Fire Cupping hurt?
Typically, fire cupping is painless when performed properly by a licensed professional. Most of our patients find it quite relaxing. Some report a mild sensation of suction, pressure, or heat.
How is Fire Cupping Performed?
There are a number of different ways to perform fire cupping. At Sage Health we commonly use the traditional glass cups.
Curious what it looks like? Click here to view a short video of a Dr. Kirsten Sage performing the procedure on a patient who was experiencing some shoulder pain in the upper and mid-back.
Why Are Some Spots Redder Than Others?
This is a common question, and there are a variety of answers. The short answer is that the more redness that is brought to the surface of the skin, the more it was needed to expel stagnation, increase blood flow, and release toxins. Your practitioner can explain further based on your specific needs and reason for the treatment.
Is Fire Cupping Right for Me?
While we recognize the incredible benefits fire cupping can offer, whether or not it’s right for you is something to absolutely discuss with your health practitioner.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also want to read our blog, “Spring and the Time Change: Taking Care of YOU.”
Sage Health is a holistic wellness center in Encinitas, California founded by Chiropractor, Dr. Kirsten Sage. We specialize in advanced chiropractic,acupuncture and massage treatments. We are focused on helping patients with natural alternatives to optimal health and wellness. We are located at 531 Encinitas Blvd. Suite 100, Encinitas, CA 92024. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | PH: 760.753.2157