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What's with Athletes getting Cupping?

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Cupping for athletes. Chinese medicine hinchinbrook and liverpool

You have probably noticed the cupping marks on elite athletes across a range of different sports. You may have thought to yourself --- What exactly is cupping? Where did it come from and what does it do? Can I get cupping if I'm not an elite athlete?

There is evidence that cupping was used as far back as 1550 BC by the Eygyptians.

Cupping is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, dating back thousands of years, where the cups used were made of bamboo and some bamboo cups are still used today.

Whilst glass is preferred, other materials are used including plastics, silicon and clay.

Cupping creates a suction, meaning that part of the skin is drawn into the cup. Upon removal, the cups leave red marks or bruises. In Chinese Medicine the features of the bruises or marks are very important, giving practitioners insight into the nature of blood flow in each area. For example, darker purple-like colour indicates increased "stagnation" of Qi and blood, meaning that there may be obstructions hindering blood flow in the area.

Cupping is not just for athletes, but for anyone seeking to address the following issues:

  • Pain relief

  • Inflammation reduction

  • Oxygenation of blood, increasing blood flow

  • Muscle tightness relief

  • Regenerative or healing promotion from muscular strains

  • Stress release

Traditional Chinese Medicine use of cupping is more far-ranging , including addressing symtoms of:

  • Early stage of cold and flu

  • Anemia and blood disorders

  • Back problems

  • Skin conditions such as acne

  • Herpes zoster

  • Allergies and asthma

  • Breathing problems

  • Whiplash

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Migraines

  • Fertility issues

There are conditions where cupping is not recommended, such as over open wounds, internal organ disorders and thinning skin to name a few. A qualified health professional can assess and guide you, so important to get professional advice first.

*Book an appointment now if you suffer from any of these conditions (and you live in Sydney or Liverpool LGA). Cupping and other Chinese Medicine treatments may help you!

*Share with your contacts, or comment or question below.

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British Cupping Society: "A Brief Overview of Cupping Therapy," "Al-Hijamah Cupping Therapy." American Cancer Society: "Cupping."Cao, J. PLoS ONE, February 2012.

Mehta, P & Dhapte, V. "Cupping Therapy: A prudent remedy for a plethora of medical ailments. J Tradit Complement Med 2015 Jul, 5 (3): 127-134

Qureshi, N. A., Ali, G. I., Abushanab, T. S., El-Olemy, A. T., Alqaed, M. S., El-Subai, I. S., & Al-Bedah, A. M. N. (2017). History of cupping (Hijama): a narrative review of literature. Journal of integrative medicine, 15(3), 172–181.


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