Most of the time, when I'm away from my desk, I'm active, taking barre, HIIT, and kickboxing classes while also teaching yoga classes. My body is always in motion. With all of that motion, my muscles and I sometimes have not-so-great conversations.
My muscles will tell me they are sore and need more than rest, so one of the methods I use to please them is cupping. Cupping is when an acupuncturist (or other type of practitioner) places cups on the skin in a way that creates suction. It's a practice that dates back to several global communities throughout history, including ancient China and Egypt. There are also different methods of cupping including fire cupping, bamboo cupping, and plastic cupping (where a pump valve at the top is used to increase suction).
I've tried cupping a couple of times in the past, but for the past eight months, it has been something I continuously turn to for many situations including muscle recovery. I usually get the plastic type of cupping at WTHN, but cupping is available in many corners of the globe that specialize in physical wellness. Keep reading to find out more about my experience with using cupping for muscle recovery.
Cupping Therapy For Muscle Recovery
Currently, one of my goals is to build upper-body strength. On that journey — while wearing a lot of high-impact sports bras — I've found that my shoulders and upper back get tight really easily. To recover, I regularly incorporate cupping and stretching into my recovery routine.
Whenever I get the cups put on, I'm always asked by my acupuncturist if I mind getting cupping marks — I never mind. Personally, I let the acupuncturist do as much suction as they feel is necessary to help my muscle recovery, and if that means I have dark circles on my back (and other areas), then it is what it is.
The cups don't hurt, nor do they tickle. They feel like warm mini hugs on my back. It's almost as if someone was literally lifting the soreness from the skin.
Since I usually fall asleep during the session, by the time I wake up and the cups are removed, I take a couple stretches like Cat Cow and cross-arm stretch before putting my shirt back on.
Before I head out, I always make sure to drink a glass of water, because hydrating well after cupping is a key step in the process. Drinking plenty of water is believed to drain toxins that may have been brought to the surface during the session.
If you ever find yourself wanting to try cupping for muscle recovery, know that the frequency of how often you do it is up to you. Since I'm often reengaging the areas of my body that get sore, I try to go every other week to keep the conversations with my muscles on the pleasant side.