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Cupping For Muscle Recovery
What is cupping?
Cupping is a treatment that was introduced over 2,000 years ago to encourage healing. Over time, research has determined that cupping may be an effective treatment to aid muscle repair. A great addition to your recovery routine to reduce the time it takes for your muscles to repair in between workouts. Dry cupping for muscle recovery is the act of placing small cups onto the skin and using heat or a device to remove some air from the cup. Removing air whilst maintaining contact with the skin creates a vacuum. This pulls the skin and layers below the skin surface up into the cup.
There are many different cupping devices out there, along with a number of different techniques. Cups can be left stationary on trigger point areas or moved along the muscle belly to create a deep massaging effect. Alternatively, the addition of heat is a common technique used during cupping. The development of cupping devices makes it an easy to use tool to add to your weekly recovery routine.
How does it aid muscle recovery?
Creating a vacuum inside the cup creates suction to bring a small area of the skin into the cup and decompress the muscles and surrounding tissues. This has a number of benefits:
- Increase blood flow to the area to promote muscle repair.
- Break up adhesions in myofascial tissue releasing trigger point pain.
- Release tension in muscle fibres to promote relaxation.
- Reduce inflammation by bringing blood from the muscle to the surface.
- Reduce muscle soreness, reducing time in between workouts.
The main aim of cupping is to move blood to the surface and decompress muscle fibres and surrounding tissues, to release tension. By doing this, more oxygenated blood is brought to the muscle to aid repair. In addition, bringing the blood to the surface creates a bruise like mark, this movement of fluid and change in pressure creates an immune response to remove toxins via the lymphatic system, thus promoting muscle repair.
Introducing the TheraCup from Therabody. From just £109 at RecoverFit, cupping at home has never been easier. Traditional cupping integrated with ThermaVibration™ Technology allows for professional grade recovery for everyone. Say goodbye to struggling to get your cup to stick or not knowing how much air to suck out. This high tech cupping device has a number of features to create a digitised cupping experience with built-in safety sensors and on-device controls. The TheraCup is a 3 in 1 cupping device integrating suction decompression, heat and vibration.
Key features include:
- 3 intensity levels (30 kPa, 40 kPa, 50 kPa) of suction.
- 3 Heat therapy levels (41°C, 43°C, 45°C).
- Vibration therapy with different settings- Low, High, and Wave.
- 3 interchangeable cupping sizes (35mm, 45mm, and 55mm).
- Safety measures including auto shutoff after 3 minutes of continual usage and if pressure exceeds 60 kPa.
- 120-minute battery life with a USB-C charging port.
- Portable and lightweight with a Neoprene carrying pouch included.
How do I use the TheraCup?
To use the TheraCup here is a quick step by step guide.
Firstly choose the diameter of cup you wish to use. We would recommend the larger cup for larger muscle groups such as the quadriceps, lower back and hamstrings. Smaller cups are more suitable for smaller muscles such as arm and calf muscles.
1) Place the TheraCup on the area you feel requires muscle tension release
2) Turn the device on, a green light will appear
3) There are 3 buttons on the top of the device to represent suction (middle button), heat (vertical waves) and vibration (horizontal zig zag lines), each with 3 levels represented by small lights under each button
4) As you click each button they will go up a level until you reach the highest intensity (represented by 3 lights)
5) Start at the low level of suction and build your way up as you begin to feel comfortable
6) The vibration therapy setting goes from high, to low and then the wave setting. Have a flick through these settings and figure out which one you prefer
7) The heat settings increase in heat as you click the button, like suction, we would recommend starting on a low level and building your heat tolerance as you use the product more frequently
8) As you leave the cup in place you will feel the settings get to work and you should see your skin being sucked into the transparent cup
9) The treatment will last 3 minutes however, during this treatment you can adjust the settings as you please by pressing the buttons
10) The suction will release and you can lift the cup away from the skin with ease. If you need to release the cup during the treatment simply lower the suction level and lift the cup away from the skin slowly
11) Gliding cupping techniques can be applied, however due to the high suction levels it can be difficult to get the cup moving and is not for those with a low pain threshold!
Cupping Do’s and Don'ts
Don’t double up treatments in the same spot, the 3 minute treatment is a safety measure
Do check with a medical professional if you are concerned about using the product
Don’t place the cup on a skin disorder including wounds, recent scars, eczema or psoriasis.
Do use massage oil to help gliding therapy and removal of the cup
Don’t use it on your scalp for head pain
Do use cupping therapy 2-3 times a week
Don’t use the TheraCup without reading the instructions extensively
Do drink plenty of water following a cupping treatment
What do different colour marks mean following cupping?
Light red/pink circles show light blood flow to the area. Darker circles indicate more blood flow to the area suggesting that area responded well to the cupping.
Does cupping hurt?
This is dependent on a couple of aspects. If you have high levels of muscle soreness, cupping may cause a slight discomfort, but then feel better upon removal. The gliding technique may be more painful than stationary cupping. Cupping should not cause high levels of pain, therefore the cup should be removed if you feel the treatment is too painful.
How long do you leave the cup on?
Stationary cups are left on for 3 minutes in each place.
How long do the circles stay for?
The marks can last from a few hours to a number of days, this is dependent on how dark they are. They should disappear eventually so do not panic if you still have marks after a few days. Please seek medical advice if the bruise created lasts a number of weeks.
Do I need oil for cupping?
It is not a necessity for stationary cupping, however it might help remove the cups. It is recommended if you are doing any gliding/movement of the cups whilst they are on the skin.
Is cupping the same as getting a massage?
Cupping is a deep tissue massage treatment, however instead of compressing the muscles like a traditional massage, the muscles and surrounding tissues are decompressed.
Is cupping safe?
Yes, cupping is safe provided the instruction manual is followed. Cupping however, is not recommended for those with the following medical conditions:
- Organ failure e.g liver failure
- Blood disorders e.g anaemia
- Use of blood thinners
- Use of a pacemaker device
- Heart disease
Please seek advice from a medical professional before cupping to determine the full list of medical conditions.