Last summer, cupping came into the limelight when Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps revealed dark red spots all over his back, leaving people wondering what it was all about.
MediCupping is a form of massage therapy that uses cups to create a vacuum affect that lifts and hydrates the muscle, according to Dawn Jones, LMT, CMRM, Spa Therapist at ProMedica Wildwood Athletic Club. “The vacuum pressure removes debris from the site. Everything then exits through the pores or lymph nodes,” she explains.
MediCupping can be used for a variety of conditions, including muscle aches, scars and adhesions, arthritis, and sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses). “Five minutes of MediCupping is equivalent to a 30-minute deep tissue massage” says Jones. “If someone has a tear in the tendon of their muscle, MediCupping can start the healing process immediately.”
Julie Peterson, a client of Jones, went in for a normal massage when she decided to try it out. “I used to be a runner and tennis player. Now I do Pilates and run,” says Peterson. “I tried it and loved it. It’s not just for relaxation, it actually accomplishes something.”
Massage therapy offers a range of benefits to athletes. Jones notes that people in their 20s who work out get MediCupping massages to release the tension in their muscles. “It reduces recovery time so they can get back into the gym.”
The red spots on the back like what was seen on Phelps are from using the parking technique, also known as the hickey affect. “Not every area of the body will get the red spots. Places other than the back get a suction and release, which picks up muscle skin tissue and drops it back down.” She continues, “Then we do a smooth glide to pick it up and separate it.”
“The cups we use come in all different sizes, the majority being glass. Small ones are used for facial drainage, like releasing symptoms of sinus headaches or allergies,” says Jones. “The medium cups are used for the back or legs. We also have plastic, cone-shaped cups for the larger muscle groups like hamstrings, quads or glutes.”
Though the massage may look painful, Jones assures that it isn’t. “A lot of people describe MediCupping as feeling like a massage underneath the muscle. It’s a different feeling, but it doesn’t hurt.”
The amount of sessions needed varies on what issue the client is having, notes Jones. For clients with more chronic issues, they can come 1-2 times a week. For clients with less serious issues, they can come once a month.
For more information, please contact ProMedica Wildwood Athletic Club at 419-539-0235.