I got cupped. My experience with cupping therapy in San Diego.
I’ve got a confession to make. I have a high tolerance for pain. Like a really high tolerance, to the point that every day I have some form of stiffness or pain in my back, neck, hips, pretty much everywhere. I work out hard, and I work hard in general, so I guess I put a lot of strain on my body. Up until this point, I have just dealt with it, stretching when I could and getting massages when able (like every 6 months). These maintain my level of pain, but never fully negate it. Rather than keep going and potentially injure myself, I bit the bullet and decided that winter was the time to jump on the bandwagon. I tried cupping therapy in San Diego.
By now I am sure you have seen photos all over Instagram of people with big circular bruises strewn across their backs. No, they didn’t get punched (or at least I hope not). They got cupped or rather cupping therapy.
What is cupping therapy?
Cupping is an ancient method of alternative medicine that is meant for pain relief. A therapist places heated cups on your back, legs, and/or extremities to increase blood flow and relieve pain. It has been used by athletes for years (Michael Phelps used it for the last 3 Olympics he competed in), and now everyone is turning to it for everyday pain relief.
I tried cupping therapy in San Diego for the first time the other day and honestly, I am hooked. I immediately feel the benefits of this therapy, so here is a quick rundown of the benefits.
Increased blood flow
The dark marks on your back or extremities indicate the level of inflammation you have in those parts of your body and how badly it needs to be remedied. The darker the mark, the more inflammation you have. The cupping brings the blood to the surface and increases blood flow to those parts of your body. Increased blood flow equals increased healing, and stimulates more red blood cell generation.
Cupping has even been used to treat acute issues like bulging discs, hernias, torn ligaments, etc. rather than resorting to surgery. Personally, I would choose this over surgery any day, far less recovery time too.
It has been used by athletes for recovery and pain relief and I can personally attest to the validity of this. Before cupping, if you barely touched the junction between my neck and shoulders, I would cringe. After cupping, it is still tender, but I can actually press down on this part and not scream out. That was after one session. Craziness.
If you happen to get some photos snapped, this is what it might look like during your session.
Cupping therapy can help detoxify your system as well since it brings all the toxins to the surface and with the increased blood flow (and drinking plenty of water), flushes them out. Naturally, your body is going to feel better once all that crap that’s been piling up has been flushed out.
You read that right. Hear me out, it truly makes sense.
Increased blood flow to your muscles to alleviate pain, would essentially allow them to function as they should and the more muscle you have (and/or better function of the muscle you have), would also increase your metabolism temporarily. It’s like when you lift weights to build lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have the higher your resting metabolism. The better your body is able to allocate blood flow, the better your muscles will function.
Plus there is the added bonus that any dimples (i.e. cellulite) should dissipate or become smoother since that is the result of lactic acid buildup that has no place to go. After the first session, I honestly feel like my legs look more toned, and I know that sounds crazy. It’s true though.
What else you should know
I went to Taylor Taylor in Hillcrest for cupping therapy in San Diego and he is honestly amazing. He fine-tuned my treatment to my body’s needs, which was a lot to be perfectly frank. Since cupping is to reduce inflammation in the body to expedite healing, he gave me a few pointers to reduce inflammation beyond cupping. Or rather, prolong your relief after a session.
- Eat foods high in antioxidants (i.e. berries, flaxseeds, etc.)
- Avoid eating too many cooling foods. Meaning eat a mixture of warm and cold food. If you eat too much cold food you are cooling your body’s natural furnace (i.e. metabolism + blood flow).
- Practice Tai Chi or Yoga. These practices allow your body to stretch itself and avoid stiffness. The cupping is meant to stretch the parts of your body to get that blood flow, but you can also alleviate pain by incorporating stretching exercises as well.
- Don’t wait too long to come in for a session. After the first session, Taylor recommends coming in 7-10 days after for a followup, just to keep your body going in the right direction of healing itself. After that you could go a few weeks or whenever you feel your body reverting to its old ways.
It doesn’t hurt. Truly, it doesn’t. It just feels odd, having some cups suction cupping your skin. Once they are off, the relief and bruises are worth it. Personally, I am wearing the bruises like a badge of honor. I am fixing myself, and that is worth it to me.
P.S. If you try cupping therapy in San Diego after reading this (and have tried cupping before), let us know what you think! We can compare photos. 😉