Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques have long been classified as ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ by practitioners of Western medicine, who like to cite studies that are unable to conclusively prove whether or not cupping has any medical benefits.

Cupping is a treatment that involves creating suction to promote blood flow to a particular area in the body. The increased blood flow means increased oxygen supply to the muscle group, which involves creating a small area of low air pressure next to the skin. However, there is variety in the tools used, the method of creating the low pressure, and the procedures followed during the treatment.

In practice, cups are normally used only on softer tissue that can form a good seal along the edge of the cup. One or more cups may be used depending on the size of the area being treated. They may be used by themselves or placed over an acupuncture needle. The skin may be lubricated using oil, allowing the cup to move across the skin slowly.

Cupping has long been part of the recovery process employed by top-level athletes around the world, such as Chinese swimmer Wang Qun, who had cupping sessions before competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It truly rose to prominence, however, during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, when several high profile American athletes, including majority of the US Men’s Gymnastics team (that won four golds medals, six silver medals and two bronze medals) and Michael Phelps (who won five gold medals and one silver medal at Rio 2016) were pictured with cupping marks on their body. While most received regular cupping treatments, some (such as Phelps) are said to have preferred fire cupping.

From there, cupping seems to have exploded as a phenomena, with high profile footballers like Karim Benzema and Neymar adding it to their recovery routines at various points. While Benzema reportedly uses it on a regular basis to help speed up post-training muscle recovery, Neymar reportedly experimented with it it in order to return to action faster than expected while he was playing for FC Barcelona in 2017.

Cupping is also known to provide pain relief, which is why it has been assimilated into the routines of several MMA fighters, such as Connor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, as well as NFL players. James Harrison was one of the most vocal proponents of cupping therapy and accupuncture in the NFL, having used it since an early age. He credited these techniques as a reason for his durability, playing for 15 years in a league known for its brutality, where the average NFL player only has a career of 3.3 years. Anthony Joshua, the heavyweight boxer, has also used cupping on a very regular basis and often posts pictures of the therapy he receives to social media.

After the 2016 Olympics, cupping became much more popular in the NBA as well, with Stephen Curry employing the technique during his rehabilitation from a shoulder injury. Nikola Vucevic, the center for the Orlando Magic, has also used it after he injured his shoulder, and could frequently be spotted playing with cupping marks on his arm.

While there still may not be any scientific studies that can conclusively ascertain the effects cupping has on the human body, it is hard to argue with the sheer volume of professional athletes who now swear by the practice.

Cupping therapy can treat a variety of conditions safely, including:

— Respiratory infections

— Blood disorders, such as anemia and hemophilia

— Joint pain caused by arthritis and fibromyalgia

— Migraine and tension headaches

— Muscle aches and stiffness

— Fertility and gynaecological disorders

— Skin problems such as herpes, eczema and acne

— High blood pressure (hypertension)

— Mental disorders, anxiety and depression

— Food allergies and asthma

— Varicose veins and cellulite

At Yinyang, we use the dry cupping and fire cupping techniques effectively for for both therapy and relaxation. If you would like to to book an appointment for cupping therapy in Dubai, please click on the link above.