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Cupping is an ancient modality in Chinese medicine, used for thousands of years with the earliest records dating back to the fourth century. It gained recent popularity during the 2016 Olympics when athletes, including Michael Phelps, appeared with cupping marks at competitions.
Cupping is used for pain, inflammation, and relaxation as a type of deep tissue massage. This therapy dates to ancient Chinese, Egyptian, African and Middle Eastern cultures.
Cupping promotes increased circulation and helps to alleviate pain that occurs due to stagnation. It also helps to open the pores and release toxins from the body. While cupping can be a beneficial treatment on its own, it is a great complimentary therapy to an acupuncture treatment.
The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system.