Cupping: From Rio to Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Cupping: From Rio to Reno

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It has been around for centuries but only recently are we seeing red marks from ‘cupping’ on the red carpet. Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston have reportedly subscribed to the ancient Chinese medicinal therapy, and now superstar swimmer Michael Phelps also brandishes bruises as a result of cupping.

"It brings blood flow, it helps with healing, it helps with pain," explains Oriental Medicine Doctor, Megan Clowers who performs cupping and acupuncture at Saint Mary's Center for Family and Integrated Medicine. As an athlete herself, she says she noticed the benefits right away. "It helps break up those adhesions you can get in between layers of skin and muscle that can inhibit athletic performance."

Dr. Clowers uses glass cups, a cotton ball doused with alcohol and fire. "I take a cotton ball and soak it with alcohol to create a flame and then suck the air out of [the glass] and stick it on the skin." It feels just like a mild suction and while there is no burning or pain, Dr. Clowers says discomfort is a slight possibility. The glass cups are attached to the skin for five to 15 minutes. In that time, she says, suction will bring blood flow to the surface. "Blood flow is so important to healing. That's how our nutrients get around the body. If you don't have blood flow, you're not going to heal very quickly." As for the obvious red and purple markings it leaves behind, Dr. Clowers says they are a hallmark sign of a good cupping session. Some people feel results right away and others may notice loosened muscles and better recovery 24-hours later. The bruising typically lasts seven to 10 days.

For more information about cupping:

Saint Mary’s Center for Family and Integrated Medicine:

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