With the addition of Dr. Kelsey Crow, DC DABCA, our Overland Park clinic offers Cupping Therapy as an additional therapy option. Cupping may help manage pain and support the bodies’ healing ability through the inflammatory response and tissue remodeling. Dr. Crow holds a Diplomate through the ABCA for Acupuncture and trained with traditional Cupping techniques during her education. Dr. Callan Martin DC, CCSP® is board certified in Acupuncture through the NBCE and trained with Cupping as well. When choosing a therapy provider, make sure they are licensed to perform such a therapy and had formal training within the scope of their licensure.
What is Cupping therapy?
During the 2016 Olympics, an ancient form of therapy hit the world stage. Several Olympic athletes had dark colored rings or circles on their body that created quite a social buzz! Cupping therapy is an ancient form of medicine originally used by healers in Ancient China and Egypt but today is used by many. This modality may be used in various settings. For example, Chiropractors, Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists use Cupping to move soft tissue or improve circulation to an area, Acupuncturists use Cupping to help with the blockage of Qi, which is discussed in our Acupuncture article.
How does Cupping work?
Cupping is the process of taking a cup-like structure, placing it on the skin and causing a negative pressure inside the cup to gently pull the tissue into the cup. This can be done many ways. The traditional way of placing cups is to use a glass cup, swirl rubbing alcohol inside the cup and light a flame. This flame consumes all the oxygen, and a vacuum is created. Another way to cup is with the use of plastic cups with a vacuum pump or flexible medical-grade silicone cups. In ancient times bamboo, stones, and clay bowls were used to treat individuals.
Once suction is achieved there are two main techniques used for this therapy. One is called dry cupping; this is any form of cupping that does not involve blood or puncturing the skin. Therapist can take the cup and place it in one spot for approximately 5-10 minutes, or they can move it around on the skin to work like a reverse massage over a broader area. The second type of cupping is called wet cupping, this type of cupping involves a small puncture with a lancet or used in conjunction with acupuncture needles to draw toxins out of the body. The physicians here at Back on Track Chiropractic and Acupuncture only perform dry cupping.
What is the purpose of cupping?
Traditional treatments methods use this modality for the purpose of balancing Qi (the life energy force of the body), removing toxins from the tissue, and helping underlying tissue heal. Western medicine focuses on the aspect of localized microtrauma to the tissue to influence blood flow and nerve conduction to the area stimulating healing and decreasing pain. Cupping may be used to help decrease the pain cycle in patients with chronic pain (such as low back pain or headaches), individuals with skin disorders, facial cupping (for aging or facial paralysis), and athletes to help bring healing to injured tissue. There are many theories people use to show how cupping works, for a more comprehensive detailed list visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6435947/.
Where do I go to find a cupping session?
Our doctors here at Back on Track Chiropractic and Acupuncture have extra training in this therapy modality and would be happy to consult with you to see if cupping is right for your care. With the new media attention cupping has received, it is imperative that when seeking a practitioner, find someone who is properly trained and licensed. These trained individuals can be anybody from an athletic trainer and massage therapist to chiropractors and medical doctors. This technique should not be done at home, professional consultation is needed.
Are there side-effects?
Cupping is a relatively safe therapy to perform. Some individuals may experience bruising, soreness or local tenderness, as well as skin irritation. If wet cupping is performed infection, is a possibility. Cupping should not be performed over an active infection, broken bone, on pregnant women, or individuals with blood clotting disorders or medication.
Published by: Kelsey Crow, DC DABCA
Aboushanab, Tamer S., and Saud AlSanad. “Cupping Therapy: An Overview from a Modern Medicine Perspective.” Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, vol. 11, no. 3, 2018, pp. 83–87, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2005290117302042?via%3Dihub.
Al-Bedah, Abdullah M N et al. “The medical perspective of cupping therapy: Effects and mechanisms of action.” Journal of traditional and complementary medicine vol. 9,2 90-97. 30 Apr. 2018, doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2018.03.003
Ratini, DO, Melinda. “Cupping Therapy.” WebMD, WebMD LLC, 15 Sept. 2020, www.webmd.com/balance/guide/cupping-therapy.
Sullivan, Debra. “What Is Cupping Therapy?” Healthline, Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company, 3 Jan. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/cupping-therapy.