Cupping is an ancient form of alternative medicine that originated in China. It has been around for thousands of years, but has moved into the spotlight after the 2016 Olympics when Michael Phelps was seen sporting the classic purple circles that cupping therapy can leave. What are those marks though and what does cupping do besides leave them? Cupping is a type of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization that uses glass, silicone, or plastic cups to exert a negative pressure (like a vacuum suction) on the skin and underlying tissues. Typical massage techniques are compressive (think hands pushing into your muscles) whereas cupping is actually decompressive. The suction exerted by the cup lifts layers of tissue and brings blood to the surface of your body which can help improve blood flow, provide a stretch to your fascia, and improve mobility. The purple mark left by cupping therapy is not a bruise and is not painful, it is evidence of the blood that has been pulled to the surface, which has theoretically removed potential blockages from your system and prepped your body to start healing. Cupping therapy in conjunction with strengthening and stretching can help improve your recovery and maximize your flexibility. Ask about cupping at your next physical therapy visit, or schedule a Wellness visit with Christina to check it out! Contact us at 617-618-9290 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.