How Cupping Benefits Your Physical Therapy

Oct 31, 2023

Get a massage. Stretch. Sit in the sauna. Dunk in a cold tub. Hydrate. Repeat the cycle of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. There are so many different treatments that athletes can incorporate into their routines for healing. Dry needling and cupping are also among the methods that are used to help athletes with their recovery process. Cupping is a therapy that uses the placement of cups with suction along the skin’s surface; this technique has been used for thousands of years in many cultures, and it has its place in modern sports medicine. Many professional athletes opt to do cupping sessions before competition. For athletes of all levels, cupping can also be a great way to promote healing and compliment physical therapy. Are you interested in incorporating cupping into your healing journey? Read on to learn more about how cupping benefits your physical therapy. 

Not just on the surface. During a cupping session, cups are placed directly on top of the skin, but there’s more to this process than that. Cupping can really help you as you heal physically; it promotes your quality of life by targeting the underlying causes of pain and other issues. The process of cupping targets the body’s neural, hematological, and immunological systems.

Neural recovery. When you’re suffering from chronic pain, cupping can help to alleviate some nagging symptoms. Doing a cupping session can help to alter the signal processing in the nerve cell endings of the spinal cord and brain that initiate the sensation of pain. Essentially, in this way, cupping reaches to the root of the problem.

Hematological healing. The skin can swell and become tender through the cupping process; the whole process results in more blood circulation and increased blood supply to the skin as well as internal organs. This can result in stimulating new cell growth, which is helpful for your body’s muscles during physical therapy recovery. 

Immunity help. Your body’s red blood cells are key to your immune system. Cupping gets that blood flowing, which in turn, improves the immune function of blood cells. This process happens by upregulating oxyhemoglobin as well as deoxyhemoglobin. By causing local, artificial inflammation cupping gets your body to react and respond. It clears damaged cells and microbes from the body and increases the level of immune products. The thymus can also be stimulated by cupping, which increases the flow of lymphatic fluids. 

A form of detox. The process of cupping really helps your body to rid itself of toxins and excess fluids. Detoxing this way can help to boost energy and mental clarity, minimize aches and pains, restore your sleep cycles, and continue to strengthen your body’s immune system. These are all key components when your body is in healing mode for physical therapy.

Pain inhibits pain. The application of cups to the skin is a sort of mechanical stimulation that provides pain relief. This creates a pain modulation pathway, making for less noticeable discomfort and eventually, more significant pain relief. Incorporating cupping can be particularly helpful with treating aches and pains as well as soft-tissue injuries. 

Get things moving. The technique of cupping helps to improve return-to-function through muscle stimulation. This is so important for athletes who want to return to their sport. 

Better athletic performance. Cupping can be helpful for physical therapy patients who are athletes in quite a few ways. It can help with relieving pain, reducing muscle tension, and increasing range of motion. 

Less muscle tension = better sleep. If cupping helps to relieve muscle tension in your body, in turn, it can help with your body’s ability to reach a state of relaxation. Relaxation can lead you to experience better sleep. 

More and more benefits. Additional benefits of cupping can include revitalizing connective tissues, stimulating the peripheral nervous system, reducing pain, and controlling high blood pressure.

Some side effects. Like so many different therapies, cupping can come with potential side effects such as burns, bruises, or some mild discomfort. However, these are temporary side effects which subside quite quickly as the body heals. 

Treating the whole athlete. At ROI, we take a holistic approach to health. Cupping is done alongside other therapies like massage. 

Learn more about making cupping part of your recovery routine. ROI has trained specialists and a team that designs customized training plans for athletes. Team ROI adds nutrition, training, and other therapies to athletes’ recovery plans. 

At ROI, there is a focus on the body’s movement system, which is the collection of cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, integumentary, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems. These systems all interact to move our bodies, and the goal of Team ROI is to assist athletes in not just moving better, but reaching their peak performance levels. 

Want to add cupping to your physical therapy routine? Learn more about ROI’s services for sports and physical therapy online, or give them a call at 512-962-9141.

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