When Michael Phelps dominated the pool in the 2016 summer Olympics, all anyone was talking about were the marks all over his back. As FightCamp Trainer Shanie Smash explains, that is the moment cupping therapy became mainstream.
Throughout Shanie’s career as a fitness professional, combat athlete, and a mom, she’s learned that recovery is key to everything from injury prevention to building stamina and strength. She is doing boxing training and kickboxing workouts several times a week, and she knows that kind of intensity would not be possible without a serious recovery day. As Shanie says, you can only train as hard as you recover.
Shanie spoke with physical therapist Guto Demeski to learn about cupping therapy, an increasingly popular recovery method with ancient origins. Guto has been doing cupping since 1997, and he now works with professional athletes, bodybuilders, and champion fighters around the world. He also keeps everyone at FightCamp in the game.
What is Cupping?
Cupping dates back to 1500 BC. The original technique of using glass cups to create suction on points over the body traces its beginnings to the Middle East. It became widespread in China and Japan, eventually spreading throughout the world. Though modern cupping has evolved to also incorporate modern technology, it always involves the use of traction and suction in your skin around your joints and muscles. This provides a natural form of pain relief.
What Does Cupping Do for the Body?
Guto explains that the most important effect is pain relief, but it also increases blood circulation to those points where you have pain. This aids in healing.
Cupping Therapy Benefits:
How Do You Know Where the Cups Need to go?
The most common form is static cupping which focuses on one area. If you have just one point of pain, you are able to use just the local application of one cup. If you feel sore all the way around your muscle, you will use a few more all the way around that area to increase the blood circulation in the muscle.
Is There Anything You Have to Do to Prepare for a Session?
A therapist will prepare you first with a massage in the target area. If you are at home, some heat therapy around the treatment area before applying the cups is recommended.
Can You Get Injured or Do it Wrong?
Yes, applying too much pressure or leaving the cup there for a long time is not good. You don’t need any more than 10 minutes for cupping.
What is the Difference Between the Glass Cups and the Other Ones?
The glass cups are for static cupping. There are other cups that are now digitized, using multiple programs with different levels of suction as well as additional features. They have an infrared light inside to produce heat, further increasing blood circulation. Guto has two examples of the modernized version of cupping including one with five programs, and another with 12 programs that also apply pressure on a pressure point.
This is Great for Athletes, but What About a Normal Everyday Person?
Guto recommends cupping therapy for everyone. Especially for people who are sitting at a desk, driving a lot, or taking care of an infant, because it can cause their shoulders to be too forward. Cupping is excellent for the back problems this creates, releasing the tension and pressure in the neck and middle back.
How Often do You Recommend a Cupping Session?
1-2 times per week is recommended, but it depends on your activity. If you are an athlete using your body a lot, twice a week would be amazing for training recovery. If you are not an athlete and just doing cupping to prevent injury or relieve pain, once a week is completely fine.
How Much Does a Cupping Therapy Session Cost?
$60 - $150 depending on experience.
What Causes Cupping Therapy Marks?
Everything has a relationship with tightness in the tissue. Areas, where you might have some scar tissue or more muscle knots and tightness, will be almost red and sometimes black. In other areas where you don’t have anything there may be no marks at all.
Cupping Therapy - Smash or Pass?
Cupping therapy has been around since ancient times for a good reason. It is natural, effective, and provides instant pain relief. It can accelerate healing in target areas throughout the body by increasing blood circulation. Better yet, a cupping therapy session is fast so it is easily incorporated. For Shanie, cupping therapy is SMASH approved.
Train and Recover Like a Fighter
Take your workouts to the next level and train like a fighter with the at-home connected fitness solution used by world champion boxers Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather. FightCamp has everything you need to work out on your schedule, with premium boxing equipment and hundreds of on-demand strength, conditioning, kickboxing, boxing, core, and recovery classes led by real fighters.
As Mike Tyson said - “FightCamp is the next level of training!”