Here’s Why Chinese Cupping Isn’t Just For Elite Athletes, According To An MLB Strength And Conditioning Coach
Now that the entire world has been exposed to the fabulous world of cupping in part thanks to our Olympic athletes, it’s time for Coach Pat to help make sense of it all for you Zenbros.
Cupping is a very ancient form of healing and just about every culture all over the world has incorporated some form of cupping or negative pressure work into their healing practices. From relieving adhesions within constricted layers of tissues to healing the measles, the use of cupping has proved to be a valuable tool in speeding up the healing process. There are basically four types of cupping tools used today and a handful of methods employed by health professionals and Sicilian grandmothers! Let’s explore!
The most common tool is called Chinese or Kangzhu cups. These have a small valve at their top and are pumped to the desired pressure by a hand pump. Typically, these glass or plastic cups are drawn tight and left in place with the tissue being sucked up into them for the purpose of either drawing toxins out of area or pinning one area of tissue while another is distracted or moved through space. Imagine if your shoulder is tight and I pumped a shit ton of cups onto the back of it and moved your shoulder around. This pinning and stretching helps loosen up tissue stuck to itself and I can attest that it works because I’ve used this on many a pitcher’s shoulder and they love it. That’s most likely what you saw on television during the Olympics.
Also common with Chinese medicine practitioners is fire or flash cupping. A flame is applied to the inside of glass cup which creates a negative pressure. Once applied to the skin these are typically held in a place in a specific area for the purpose of drawing out toxins and disease from deep within the body. Once these suckers are pulled off, they might leave a mark ranging from light red to black depending on how toxic your body might be. My grandmother used a similar practice to pull phlegm out of my lungs when I had chest colds as a child. Only she used a mayonnaise jar and the flames from the zippo lighter she used to also light the filter-less Camels she smoked while treating me! So, there’s that.