What Is Cupping Physical Therapy and Does It Actually Help?

Physical therapists use many different techniques and therapies to help boost mobility, foster healing, and support overall health. Some of these techniques are very well-known and include hot and cold therapy, electrical stimulation, and massage.

However, other therapy options offered by your local PT may be a bit less conventional. If you don’t understand how they work, you might think they’re strange and unscientific. Cupping is one such therapy that is often misunderstood but delivers excellent results. Here’s what to know about this form of physical therapy and whether it actually works.

What Is Cupping?

Cupping is an alternative form of medicine that’s been used to promote healing and improve blood flow for thousands of years. This technique has been adopted by many physical therapists who recognize its value for treating various conditions.

During a cupping session, a provider attaches simple cups to the skin using gentle suction. Once attached to the skin, your therapist may move the cups around to stimulate blood flow and relieve muscle soreness. They may also choose to leave the cups in one location for a predetermined period of time to promote the release of toxins from the organs and tissues in the area. To finish up the treatment, your therapist will gently break the suction and remove the cups from your body. If you’re interested in receiving this treatment, search online for “cupping physical therapist near me,” since not all PTs use this technique.  

What Conditions Does Cupping Help With?

Cupping may help with many different conditions, including:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Headaches
  • Arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Varicose veins

Some research also shows that cupping may help with certain blood disorders such as hemophilia and anemia. When searching for “physical therapy near me,” make sure you check to see if the therapist offers this treatment for your particular ailment. You can also use the treatment preventatively to accelerate the healing process after a tough workout or to help prevent injuries while training for an athletic event.

What Are the Different Types of Cupping?

Thеrе arе two main typеs of cupping: wеt and dry.  Dry cupping is thе most common typе and usеs suction alonе to providе hеalth bеnеfits to thе patiеnt. Wet cupping is more controversial and may involve inducing controlled bleeding in combination with suction. Some cupping therapies may also be used in combination with other therapy types, such as:

  • Laser therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Magnets

If you’re interested in learning more about how cupping can be included in your physical therapy Ahwatukee routine, consult with your PT.

What Are the Side Effects of Cupping?

Thеrе arе somе potеntial sidе еffеcts associatеd with cupping.  Thе most common sidе еffеct is bruising.  This sidе еffеct may last a fеw hours or a fеw days,  dеpеnding on thе pеrson and thе lеngth and intеnsity of thе cupping sеssion.  Othеr lеss common sidе еffеcts may includе:

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating or nausea during treatment
  • Temporary skin redness or irritation
  • Pain at incision sites (with wet cupping)

If you experience any concerning symptoms, talk with your provider right away. However, cupping is generally a very safe and popular therapy that can help with a variety of health and athletic performance concerns.

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